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A ray of light, both illuminating and beautiful.

Light appears in many forms, especially in celebrations.

Rays of sunlight sparkle on a garden. The northern lights swirl across an evening sky. From the morning sun to the nighttime moon, light shines all around. This book follows four children from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The children never all meet, but several spreads include them all via interlocking backgrounds, highlighting their shared experiences. For instance, each child views Fourth of July fireworks with two parents or caregivers. (These pairs each present male and female.) Then each family observes its own winter celebration of lights: Yi Peng with a Thai family; Diwali with an Indian family; Hanukkah with a white family; Christmas with a black family. Concise stanzas of five or six syllables evoke the wonder, movement, or purpose of different light sources: “Shimmer / Glance / Blaze and dance” describes a beach bonfire. Backmatter covers the science of light, including composition, and some manifestations like lightning as well as holiday descriptions. The illustrations, rich with color and patterns, are their own celebration of light, particularly in their warm, golden glows. Similar light sources carry different meanings; a birthday candle’s flame gives off fairy-dust–like sparks for a wish while a collection of memorial candles burn strong and steady for healing. The book successfully depicts both scientific and cultural experiences in impressive variety and connections.

A ray of light, both illuminating and beautiful. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-5770-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on...

Continuing from their acclaimed Those Shoes (2007), Boelts and Jones entwine conversations on money, motives, and morality.

This second collaboration between author and illustrator is set within an urban multicultural streetscape, where brown-skinned protagonist Ruben wishes for a bike like his friend Sergio’s. He wishes, but Ruben knows too well the pressure his family feels to prioritize the essentials. While Sergio buys a pack of football cards from Sonny’s Grocery, Ruben must buy the bread his mom wants. A familiar lady drops what Ruben believes to be a $1 bill, but picking it up, to his shock, he discovers $100! Is this Ruben’s chance to get himself the bike of his dreams? In a fateful twist, Ruben loses track of the C-note and is sent into a panic. After finally finding it nestled deep in a backpack pocket, he comes to a sense of moral clarity: “I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers—then mine—was gone.” When he returns the bill to her, the lady offers Ruben her blessing, leaving him with double-dipped emotions, “happy and mixed up, full and empty.” Readers will be pleased that there’s no reward for Ruben’s choice of integrity beyond the priceless love and warmth of a family’s care and pride.

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on children. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6649-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Decidedly one-trick yet inspired and prettily designed.

Coppo adapts a 17th-century Italian magic trick for her latest meta excursion.

Tuxedoed Lady Rabbit welcomes her audience, acknowledging that wow-level magic is difficult to pull off in a book. Making something appear as if out of nowhere…well, “any book can do that!” But the titular claim bears out in cleverly designed pages. First, readers are told to scan a page of audience members (36 charmingly unique denizens arrayed in six rows) and to choose one member. Lady Rabbit then asks kids to identify the row of their seated pick by turning to a specific page. Uh-oh! Every audience member has changed seats! Again directed to a particular page based on their choice’s new row, readers will discover that Lady Rabbit has guessed their pick. All nine answer pages include the characters and the instruction: “I guessed it, didn’t I? Now go to page 39.” There, with a “TA-DA!” and a bow, the white rabbit invites kids to turn back to pages 12-13 to try again. Coppa’s finely inked floral borders and decorated proscenium arch, colored in black and white and muted greens and salmon, emanate a vintage feel. Kids will warm to amusing audience members such as Shroom, Yeti, and Unknown (a smiling question mark) and will delight in the various mini-creatures adorning each page. One downside of the trick’s interactivity: The six pages that redirect readers to the solution pages are visually identical.

Decidedly one-trick yet inspired and prettily designed. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 12, 2024

ISBN: 9781797229010

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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