The language is fun, the Spanish just rolls off the tongue, and the illustrations offer just enough whimsy.

MAYA PAPAYA AND HER AMIGOS PLAY DRESS-UP

Follow Maya Papaya and her peluches as they dance and play through the seasons.

“¡Ay, Guacamole!” This is a bright little book, full of cheery illustrations and well-metered rhymes that create a delightful story. Maya and her amigos—her stuffed toys, her dog, and her cats—do everything together. From swimming to sledding to jumping in mud puddles, they do it all in style (thanks to their gafas del sol, tacones, and other fun clothes). Small children will easily relate to Maya and her need to adventure with her furry friends and will certainly see themselves in the playful games they enjoy together. Spanish words are used throughout (printed in italics), and most children and adults will be able to figure out their meanings using context clues even if they do not know Spanish. However, a glossary in the back defines anything readers may be unsure of, with helpful phonetic spellings of all words. As the illustrated narrative begins with dressing and ends with Maya cuddled up in bed, this is not only a great book for teaching the seasons as well as beginning Spanish vocabulary, but a sweet bedtime book to read aloud. Maya has dark hair, pale skin, and large, dark eyes that seem to be all pupil.

The language is fun, the Spanish just rolls off the tongue, and the illustrations offer just enough whimsy. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-803-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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