Fresh and original, this appealing account of friendship celebrates differences and community.

KABUNGO

"The unexpected is what happens three times a day at least" when your best friend is a cave girl.

Beverly’s best friend is 10-year-old Kabungo, who lives in a cave on Main Street, right next to the post office. She calls her uncivilized friend “K,” and K calls her “Belly.” In a quirky, gently humorous, and slightly mysterious first-person account, organized into episodic chapters titled with K’s distinctive mispronunciations, Belly describes some of their unusual adventures. There’s the day she follows K into the woods and finds her visiting a Dutch-speaking man she calls Grandpa; a climb up K’s “family tree”; and a treasure hunt leading to a birthday surprise at the town dump. Belly struggles to teach K the alphabet and finds her a kitten K names Bun. Together they go to a Halloween party at the home of Miss VeDore, the 90-year-old pumpkin woman. The narrator’s voice is distinctive, and her account is peppered with her observations and opinions. Though she’s describing her friend, she reveals a lot about herself. Kabungo has few English words, but she regularly demonstrates her love for Beverly with Grateful Cavegirl Squeezes. Occasional grayscale illustrations by comic artist Pavlovic make this surreal tale seem almost real. Both girls are white, but Beverly is neatly groomed while Kabungo sports a fur tunic and uncombed hair. (Final art not seen.)

Fresh and original, this appealing account of friendship celebrates differences and community. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55498-804-4

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet and entertaining series opener about family and friendship.

NINA SONI, FORMER BEST FRIEND

From the Nina Soni series , Vol. 1

Nina is worried that her best friend, Jay, might not be her best friend anymore.

Nina Soni has been best friends with Jay Davenport since before she was born. But when Jay’s cousins move to town, he has less and less time for Nina—so little time, in fact, that she wonders if they’re still best friends. Nina is so distracted that she forgets about her Personal Narrative Project, an assignment in which Nina is supposed to write about something interesting that’s happened to her. At first, Nina wonders how she’ll ever write the essay when her family—and, by extension, her life—is so boring. But when Jay announces that he’s going to write the best PNP ever, Nina sees his challenge as a way to recover their friendship. Sheth’s language is poetic in its simplicity, and her narratorial voice is a pleasure to read. The book particularly sparkles whenever Nina interacts with her small but tightknit family, especially when she has to rescue her quirky younger sister, Kavita, from endless scrapes. The conflict between Nina and Jay, however, feels forced and tangential to the story, which really centers on Nina’s personal narrative and her loving, albeit exasperating, relationship with her family. Both Nina and Jay are Indian American; she on both sides of her family and he through his mother (his father is white).

A sweet and entertaining series opener about family and friendship. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68263-057-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more