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UNCLE BOBBY'S WEDDING

A joyous, heartwarming, sweet—and essential—update.

Uncle Bobby is getting married—but his niece Chloe doesn’t know if that is a good idea.

When Uncle Bobby announces at the first picnic of the summer that he and “his friend, Jamie,” are getting married, everyone is happy except Chloe. When she expresses her concern to her mother, Mom says she should talk to Uncle Bobby, who reassures Chloe that they will still have plenty of fun together—and then sets out to prove it. Bobby and Jamie take Chloe to the ballet and joke afterward at a soda shop. They go sailing, and Jamie is the first to jump in when Chloe tumbles out of the boat. Roasting marshmallows over a campfire, Chloe happily says, “I wish both of you were my uncles”—and of course they tell her she will get that wish. Flower girl Chloe helps out at the wedding, and they all dance the night away. Brannen reworks the text of her out-of-print and oft-challenged 2008 title to good effect. The tale of a child’s uncertainty and jealousy at her uncle’s wedding someone who just happens to be another man and the family’s carefree celebration of that union remains essentially the same. Soto’s bright, friendly cartoons, however, depict a diverse human cast—Uncle Bobby presents White and Jamie presents Black—representing a quantum leap forward over the original’s anthropomorphic guinea pigs. Chloe has light beige skin; her mother presents White, and her father’s skin is a shade darker than Chloe's.

A joyous, heartwarming, sweet—and essential—update. (Picture book. 2-9)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1008-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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