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Practical and empowering.

Strategies to help kids with facial differences navigate others’ reactions.

“No one’s face is ordinary,” the authors, both medical doctors, declare, but “sometimes when you’re extraordinary, it isn’t easy to fit in.” Sometimes people stare, whisper, or ask questions “because there is no one else exactly like you.” To mitigate such challenges, the authors walk kids through a breathing exercise: blowing a huge bubble of “love and care and kindness” that stares can’t penetrate. Children are then invited to name three things they’re proud of; illustrated examples include playing sports, baking, and singing. Should anyone try to burst their bubbles, kids can exit an uncomfortable conversation and find a friend: “Your bubble will always follow.” As youngsters talk to trusted people, their confidence bubble “grows…and grows…and grows!” Racially diverse children with conditions including vitiligo and cleft palate demonstrate these strategies in bright cartoon illustrations. Questions such as “What is a mean comment that someone has said to you before? What would you say to them from inside your bubble?” invite readers to practice handling difficult interactions. Mardini and Suchyta matter-of-factly acknowledge tough feelings such as loneliness while portraying differences in a positive light: “Your face is one part of the amazing person you are.” The book’s reminder to readers that they are unique, powerful, and entitled to ignore rude comments emphasizes children’s agency—all crucial ingredients for confidence. An authors’ note offers tips for caregivers.

Practical and empowering. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

ISBN: 9798887700113

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Mayo Clinic Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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From the Find Momo series , Vol. 7

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute.

Readers bid farewell to a beloved canine character.

Momo is—or was—an adorable and very photogenic border collie owned by author Knapp. The many readers who loved him in the previous half-dozen books are in for a shock with this one. “Momo had died” is the stark reality—and there are no photographs of him here. Instead, Momo has been replaced by a flat cartoonish pastiche with strange, staring round white eyes, inserted into some of Knapp’s photography (which remains appealing, insofar as it can be discerned under the mixed media). Previous books contained few or no words. Unfortunately, virtuosity behind a lens does not guarantee mastery of verse. The art here is accompanied by words that sometimes rhyme but never find a workable or predictable rhythm (“We’d fetch and we’d catch, / we’d run and we’d jump. Every day we found new / games to play”). It’s a pity, because the subject—a pet’s death—is an important one to address with children. Of course, Momo isn’t gone; he can still be found “everywhere” in memories. But alas, he can be found here only in the crude depictions of the darling dog so well known from the earlier books.

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781683693864

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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