Readers will be eager to see more of this spunky, confident, daring character.

THE MISSING HAMSTER

From the Beatrice Bly's Rules for Spies series , Vol. 1

Beatrice Bly, super spy, uses her practiced skills to solve the mysterious disappearance of her classroom’s pet hamster.

Bea is a seasoned sleuth with specific rules about how she conducts her important work. She never reveals her spy identity (except to best friend Nora), observes and records everything, and works quietly. On the morning when Miss Leland announces that Edgar is missing from his cage, Bea begins to explore a hunch or two, discussing with Nora where Edgar might be found on school grounds. Taking note of the teachers’ special luncheon that day and recalling that Edgar loves to eat fruits and veggies, Bea undertakes a secret mission during recess, searching the halls, where she finds a specific clue that leads to a happy conclusion. Expressive cartoon artwork depicts a contemporary school setting with a diverse population—Miss Leland has brown skin, and Nora presents Asian. Beatrice is White and behaves quite boldly, with dark glasses, a listening device, and stealth poses (often depicted in multiple iterations in a spread). The linear narrative moves the intrigue along through conversations between Nora and Bea while her detective dexterity brings her closer to resolution. Piecing together the evidence will be obvious to some, but the fun will be in watching Bea perform in her chosen vocation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Readers will be eager to see more of this spunky, confident, daring character. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64595-028-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pixel+Ink

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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