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RENÉ HAS TWO LAST NAMES/RENÉ TIENE DOS APELLIDOS

On the first day in his new school, René’s teacher gives everyone a nametag with their first and last names. Though René’s last name, like many Salvadorans’, has two parts, “Colato Laínez,” his tag reads only “René Colato.” Maybe the teacher ran out of ink? Adding “Laínez” on his own, René is teased about having an unusually “long dinosaur name” but uses the opportunity of a family-tree assignment to instruct everyone, including the teacher, about why both names together represent his full Italian and Spanish heritage. René’s full name proudly reminds him that he is a product of both his father and mother’s family histories, both rich in talent and hard work. Drawing from his personal immigrant experience, the author tells his story in a bilingual narration, his sincere, earnest voice augmented by Graullera Ramírez’s softly colored cartoon-style watercolor scenes of family and classmates. The significance of this Hispanic tradition respecting both sides of a child’s parentage is well explained in this easily understood example of cultural differences. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-55885-530-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arte Público

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2009

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Jitters series

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One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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