Though it’s far from lulling, it’s well worth the risk of a prolonged bedtime. The glee it provokes will surely be worth it

READ REVIEW

HIP-HOP LOLLIPOP

With dance moves and beats that soothe, splashed with swirling lines and colors displayed in array—this picture-book tale is a fun-filled hip-hop hooray!

Montanari blends energetic rhythm with toe-tapping rhymes in her happy narrative of little Lollipop’s love of hip-hop and dance. “Mama says, ‘Time for bed. / Bed.’ / Lollie’s arms overhead. / Dancing down the long hall. / Bouncing off the tall wall.” But getting a bouncy ball of raw stamina down for bedtime is harder than you think. Pinkney’s swooping lines and whooshes of color enliven the story. Depicting dancing pets that arc and sway in time to the cadence of the rhymes, Pinkney amply demonstrates his mastery of visual narrative. He adds an almost abstract quality with his use of line, using pastel colors to suggest outlines of furniture and then transforming them seamlessly into sheer motion in a smart, refreshing way, playing with perspective while showing totally realistic joy on the characters’ charmingly rich, brown faces. Montanari has penned a read-aloud treat that is sure to enhance the nighttime ritual. However, caregivers shouldn’t be surprised if their little ones decide this bedtime story deserves backup dancers.

Though it’s far from lulling, it’s well worth the risk of a prolonged bedtime. The glee it provokes will surely be worth it . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93482-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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A memorable life—a forgettable presentation.

I AM JACKIE ROBINSON

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Baseball’s No. 42 strikes out.

Even as a babe in his mother’s arms, Robinson is depicted wearing his Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap in this latest entry in the Ordinary People Change the World series. He narrates his childhood alongside cartoon panels that show him as an expert runner and thrower. Racism and poverty are also part of his growing up, along with lessons in sharing and courage. Incredibly, the Negro Leagues are not mentioned beyond a passing reference to “a black team” with a picture of the Kansas City Monarchs next to their team bus (still looking like a child in the illustration, Robinson whines, “Gross! Is this food or goo?”). In 1946, Branch Rickey signs him to play for the Dodgers’ farm team, and the rest, as they say, is history. Robinson concludes his story with an exhortation to readers to be brave, strong and use their “power to do what’s right. / Use that power for a cause that you believe in.” Meltzer writes his inspirational biography as a first-person narrative, which risks being construed and used as an autobiography—which it is not. The digitally rendered cartoon illustrations that show Robinson as a perpetual child fall sadly short of capturing his demeanor and prowess.

A memorable life—a forgettable presentation. (photographs, timeline, sources, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4086-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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