BRAND-NEW BUBBE

A winning reminder that though family might evolve, it’s always anchored by love.

Jillian likes her new stepfather but isn’t sure about her new grandmother.

Bubbe, Yiddish for grandmother, is very loving, but Jillian does not appreciate this affection. She already has two grandmas—Gram and Noni—and a great-grandma. She doesn’t need a person who gives lipstick-laden kisses and introduces new holidays and words (kvelling and kvetching) she doesn’t understand. When her mom insists that Jillian “give Bubbe a chance,” Jillian, tan-skinned with brown hair, reluctantly agrees to join her “brand-new” grandmother as Bubbe prepares soup and teaches Jillian to make perfect matzah balls. After tasting the delicious concoction, Jillian plans a celebration for everyone: her mother, her stepfather, her father, and all her grandmothers (and her great-grandma). The three grandmas make their special soups and create a feast for everyone—a lovely way to bring a blended family together. Humorous, expressive illustrations track Jillian’s many moods; the interactions between Bubbe’s dog and her cat are especially funny. Filled with good tastes and intentions, the story will ring true where families have stayed friendly after divorce and remarriage. Jillian’s family is a diverse one—Bubbe is Jewish, and the family members range in skin tone. Backmatter includes recipes for all three grannies’ soups (Bubbe’s matzah ball soup, Noni’s Italian wedding soup, and Gram’s gazpacho). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A winning reminder that though family might evolve, it’s always anchored by love. (websites related to blended families) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-62354-249-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

ROBOBABY

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

TISHA AND THE BLOSSOMS

A sweet reminder to pause and ponder life’s everyday wonders.

A young girl models mindfulness as she savors each moment.

This charming and vibrant picture book opens in Tisha’s backyard, where she is reaching skyward as falling blossoms float toward her. Her joy and anticipation are disrupted by a series of “hurry up” commands from those around her, who prod her to rush for the school bus, attend an assembly, and make sure that she doesn’t miss lunch. The externally imposed directions conflict with Tisha’s natural curiosity, which compels her not only to “listen to the sounds” and to count the spots on a ladybug she finds during recess, but also to create connections between a book she finds about space and the space shuttle she imagines but cannot finish drawing because “it’s time to put the crayons away.” When Tisha requests “a little slowdown,” she and Mommy decide to walk home and play “How Many?” along the way; they also snuggle on a park bench and name all the pigeons. What began as a harried day ends on an idyllic note with a family picnic under flowering trees; when the wind blows, Tisha can catch a blossom at last. Artful and striking illustrations produce a multitude of visual textures that delineate individual blooms, sketch Tisha’s neighborhood, render colorful yet subtle details of characters and clothing, and deliver painterly impressions. Tisha and her family are tan-skinned with dark hair; her classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet reminder to pause and ponder life’s everyday wonders. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2198-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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