Well-intentioned but misses the mark.

READ REVIEW

POCKET ROCKS

A boy collects rocks that inspire his imagination while coping with school.

Ian Goobie is a white boy with poofy, curly red hair. He always dreads school because, despite his school aide, a white man named BJ, he “could not do the things everyone else could do.” When he starts to collect rocks that trigger his vivid imagination, he finds he is able to better cope with the difficulties of everyday life—until his pants become so heavy with rocks that they fall down in front of his peers. Mortified, Ian is inconsolable until he meets a white storyteller who announces to the class that he also keeps a rock in his pocket, even as an adult. Thanks to this storyteller, Ian is no longer ostracized, he successfully spells his name with rocks, and he gains self-confidence. While Ian exhibits some behaviors that indicate he may not be neurotypical, the text never identifies or even suggests what his disabilities might be, missing an opportunity to truly provide a window or mirror for readers. Supporting characters are mostly white like Ian, although Ian’s one Asian classmate has noticeably slanted eyes, unlike any of his peers. Flook’s illustrations appear unintentionally dated, with character apparel reminiscent of the 1990s.

Well-intentioned but misses the mark. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1746-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO TO THE MARKET

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabé, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.

With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Raúl the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market’s vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Raúl the Third’s characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Raúl the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s pointillism.

A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier’s life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55726-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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