Whether describing a nighttime trip to the bathroom or discouraging fratricide, Miller and Santat’s fun, eminently...

NO MORE POEMS!

Serious poetic fun.

Dark humor abounds in Old 97’s singer/songwriter Miller’s first foray into light verse for children, where his zany poetic antics are deftly paired with the visually arresting mixed-media somersaults of Caldecott medalist Santat. Doubtless drawing on experiences from his day jobs as a rocker and father, Miller offers nearly two dozen rhymed “silly, subversive poems” aimed at capturing children at their scheming best and adults as less than perfect. The collection’s opening poem, describing the young speaker’s hidden talent for using a toe to flush the toilet, sets the irreverent tone: “I don’t have a name for my potty karate / I might call it Tae Kwon Doo / Or maybe I’ll say I’m a third degree black belt / In the top secret art of Kung Poo.” Later, in “i want a dog,” Santat employs full use of the double-page spread by depicting the speaker making her case (“I want a dog / I’ll give you until my next birthday / If there’s no dog by then I am RUNNING AWAY/ I’ll go off and live in a bog”) with the hilarious aid of a 55-slide presentation. Every facial expression displays his exceptional talent at visual characterization.

Whether describing a nighttime trip to the bathroom or discouraging fratricide, Miller and Santat’s fun, eminently contemporary collaboration will charm both kids and the adults reading with them. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-41652-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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A delightful story of love and hope.

OUR SUBWAY BABY

Families are formed everywhere—including large metropolitan mass-transit systems!

Baby Kevin, initially known as “Danny ACE Doe,” was found in the New York City’s 14th Street subway station, which serves the A-C-E lines, by one of his future fathers, Danny. Kevin’s other father, Pete (author Mercurio), serves as the narrator, explaining how the two men came to add the newborn to their family. Readers are given an abridged version of the story from Danny and Pete’s point of view as they work to formally adopt Kevin and bring him home in time for Christmas. The story excels at highlighting the determination of loving fathers while still including realistic moments of hesitation, doubt, and fear that occur for new and soon-to-be parents. The language is mindful of its audience (for example using “piggy banks” instead of “bank accounts” to discuss finances) while never patronizing young readers. Espinosa’s posterlike artwork—which presents the cleanest New York readers are ever likely to see—extends the text and makes use of unexpected angles to heighten emotional scenes and moments of urgency. The diversity of skin tones, ages, and faces (Danny and Pete both present white, and Kevin has light brown skin) befits the Big Apple. Family snapshots and a closing author’s note emphasize that the most important thing in any family is love. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 43% of actual size.)

A delightful story of love and hope. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-42754-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.

GRANDMA'S GARDENS

In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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