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SEÑOR PANCHO HAD A RANCHO

Chock-full of bicultural fun on the farm.

Colato Laínez (The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez, 2010) presents a bicultural rendition of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” one of the most widely known and loved children’s songs.

This book introduces readers to the various animals on two separate farms. On the first page of each spread is Old MacDonald and a traditional verse of the song in English. The next page presents Señor Pancho, whose rancho is also filled with animals whose Spanish names and sounds are blended into the English text. The opening pages prepare readers who may not be familiar with Spanish by providing a glossary of terms and a pronunciation guide to the Spanish sounds. Finally, the animals from the two farms meet, and everyone joins in dancing and singing, mixing all of the sounds and names together. The lively illustrations are imbued with movement and humor, significantly contributing to the overall joy of the book. Subtle nuances, such as in landscape and textile patterns, are used to distinguish Old MacDonald and Señor Pancho. For some readers, the repetition of each verse might lack sufficient action to keep them engaged. Others, however, will enjoy learning the names of the animals in both English and Spanish and comparing the onomatopoeia in each language.

Chock-full of bicultural fun on the farm. (glossary, pronunciation guide, author’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2632-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A LIBRARY

A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter.

A love letter to libraries.

A Black child, with hair in two puffballs tied with yellow ribbons, a blue dress with a Peter Pan collar, and black patent leather Mary Janes, helps Grandmother with the housework, then, at Grandmother’s suggestion, heads to the library. The child’s eagerness to go, with two books under an arm and one in their hand, suggests that this is a favorite destination. The books’ wordless covers emphasize their endless possibilities. The protagonist’s description of the library makes clear that they are always free to be themselves there—whether they feel happy or sad, whether they’re reading mysteries or recipes, and whether they feel “quick and smart” or “contained and cautious.” Robinson’s vibrant, carefully composed digital illustrations, with bright colors that invite readers in and textures and patterns in every image, effectively capture the protagonist’s passion for reading and appreciation for a space where they feel accepted regardless of disposition. In her author’s note, Giovanni states that she spent summers visiting her grandmother in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she went to the Carnegie Branch of the Lawson McGhee Library. She expresses gratitude for Mrs. Long, the librarian, who often traveled to the main library to get books that Giovanni could not find in their segregated branch. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-38765-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Versify/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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