A laugh-out-loud book that may have readers trying new foods as well. (Picture book. 4-8)

Mom and dad are picky eaters. Matilda is not. How can she convince them to try new foods?

Matilda Macaroni loves to try new foods. Grandma Macaroni’s jambalaya. Sushi at a friend’s house. Pork paprikash at another’s. However, her parents will only eat six things: chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, burgers, grilled cheese, pizza, and sugary cereal. Matilda realizes the only way she can try different foods is to take over the kitchen! With help from Grandma and her babysitter, she quickly “perfects paella, masters miso soup, and conquers croquettes.” One day, she offers to make her parents dinner. Even though she makes something on their will-eat list—a hamburger—they are still skeptical. “This doesn’t look like what I like,” says Mr. Macaroni. “There are mushrooms on it,” says Mrs. Macaroni. But once they take a bite of Matilda’s hamburger, both mom and dad realize it’s delicious! The Macaronis are soon on their way to cooking and eating together. Miller’s delightful, topsy-turvy tale is boosted by Aly’s multicultural cast of fun, cartoony characters; Matilda’s biracial, with brown skin; her dad and grandma are white and her mom’s brown-skinned. Their expressive faces and body language hijack the page, whether they’re recoiling in disgust or smiling a smug smile of success. Readers can attempt the Macaroni family’s quiche recipe in the back.

A laugh-out-loud book that may have readers trying new foods as well. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2562-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018



Warm but underdone.

In this picture book from actor Gyllenhaal and his partner, Caruso, a child and his uncle bond on a fantastic journey.

Leo, an avid dancer, is dismayed when Uncle Mo visits—he’s in town for a “rubber band convention.” Illustrations show both with wavy brown hair and light tan skin. Not only does Leo think his uncle is rather dull, he’s also leery of Uncle Mo’s many rules. A rather abrupt narrative shift occurs when the pair inexplicably drive into another dimension. Here they encounter Great-Aunt Gloria (who is very tall and presents Black) and Uncle Munkle Carbunkle (who is very short and light-skinned), who guide them through the Secret Society of Aunts & Uncles. Unimpressed with Uncle Mo, Great-Aunt Gloria says he must take a quiz on “Auntieology and Uncleology.” After several wrong answers, Uncle Mo has a final chance at redemption: He must state his nephew’s favorite activity. When Leo springs into action to dance for his clueless uncle, a mishap leaves him mortified and un-bespectacled. Enter Uncle Mo to save the day by using a rubber band to secure Leo’s glasses. While Santat’s energetic illustrations do much to clarify the narrative, they can’t fully make up for the disjointed storytelling—it’s never clear why the two have entered this dimension or why Leo is suddenly so eager to help Uncle Mo. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Warm but underdone. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781250776990

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023


A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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