So many cultural treasures are dependent on word-of-mouth transmission, and this story encourages grandparents to lovingly...

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MY TATA'S REMEDIES / LOS REMEDIOS DE MI TATA

Following My Nana's Remedies/Los Remedios De Mi Nana, illustrated by Edna San Miguel (2002), Rivera-Ashford offers another semiautobiographical and child-friendly recounting of the importance of sharing intergenerational wisdom, this time accompanied by Castro L.’s expressive illustrations.

From a banged-up forehead to a fever in the middle of the night, there are many opportunities for Aaron to observe his tata sharing concern and good cheer as he dispenses remedies based primarily on medicinal herbs to neighbors and friends. A Latino nonsense ditty used to console children when they are sick or hurt comes in handy when Aaron’s little brother’s itchy feet need attention ("Heal, heal, little tail of a frog; if you don’t heal today, you’ll be healed tomorrow"). Readers will be glad to know that Nana from the earlier book makes an appearance, and they may even wish that they were prescribed her freshly made empanadas, which she shares with the patients as part of Tata’s treatments. The large and colorful single-page illustrations successfully elicit empathy for those seeking relief from various maladies at Tata’s door. Botanically correct depictions of the plants utilized in the remedies decorate the text pages and are duplicated in the appendix, where properties and usage are described in more detail than within the fully bilingual text. 

So many cultural treasures are dependent on word-of-mouth transmission, and this story encourages grandparents to lovingly pass on their knowledge to eager grandchildren and family members. (Bilingual picture book. 4-11)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-935955-91-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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Thought-provoking and charming.

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THE WILD ROBOT

A sophisticated robot—with the capacity to use senses of sight, hearing, and smell—is washed to shore on an island, the only robot survivor of a cargo of 500.

When otters play with her protective packaging, the robot is accidently activated. Roz, though without emotions, is intelligent and versatile. She can observe and learn in service of both her survival and her principle function: to help. Brown links these basic functions to the kind of evolution Roz undergoes as she figures out how to stay dry and intact in her wild environment—not easy, with pine cones and poop dropping from above, stormy weather, and a family of cranky bears. She learns to understand and eventually speak the language of the wild creatures (each species with its different “accent”). An accident leaves her the sole protector of a baby goose, and Roz must ask other creatures for help to shelter and feed the gosling. Roz’s growing connection with her environment is sweetly funny, reminiscent of Randall Jarrell’s The Animal Family. At every moment Roz’s actions seem plausible and logical yet surprisingly full of something like feeling. Robot hunters with guns figure into the climax of the story as the outside world intrudes. While the end to Roz’s benign and wild life is startling and violent, Brown leaves Roz and her companions—and readers—with hope.

Thought-provoking and charming. (Science fiction/fantasy. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-38199-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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