From the José and El Perro series

Sure to have newly independent readers—especially soccer fans—cheering.

In this bilingual chapter book, a Latine boy realizes his dog has a hidden talent.

José has been picked for the soccer team! When his family surprises him with new equipment, he rushes out to practice with his dog, Feliz. Everyone knows Feliz is intelligent—he even recognizes commands in both English and Spanish—but no one knew he was also a natural jugador de fútbol! At practice, Feliz watches the action from the bleachers until the time comes to practice kicking. As José dribbles the ball toward the goal, Feliz rushes the field, embarrassing the boy. Fortunately, everyone on the team is amazed by the dog’s skills, even the coach, who appoints Feliz the team mascot. When José scores the winning goal of their first game, he calls Feliz onto the field to celebrate; the two best friends are brought even closer through their shared love of the game. Early in the book, readers learn that everyone in José’s house speaks both English and Spanish, and the book is likewise bilingual. The text is written mostly in English but weaves in Spanish words and phrases on most pages, imitating the natural code-switching of many bilingual people. Colorful cartoon illustrations provide effective visual support for developing readers. José and his family are dark-haired and have varying shades of brown skin; his community is a diverse one.

Sure to have newly independent readers—especially soccer fans—cheering. (glossary) (Early chapter book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780593521199

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023


From the Little Shaq series , Vol. 2

A solid sequel, easily accessible to readers who missed Volume 1.

A fictionalized young Shaquille O'Neal returns for a second illustrated story about life beyond the basketball court.

Little Shaq and his cousin Barry come home from the rec center giddy about Little Shaq's first three-point shot but are greeted with another surprise. For the first time, Little Shaq's mom has made sushi for a family dinner. Barry and the others dig in, but Little Shaq's curiosity about sushi only hits him after the last roll is gone. Little Shaq's joy and confidence on the court—best expressed when Little Shaq exuberantly tosses a postgame grape into Barry's mouth ("Three points!")—contrast strongly with his unease trying new foods or activities. A large part of the book concerns a school art project, and Little Shaq's frustration is made poignantly clear through both illustration and description ("Little Shaq crumpled up his drawing and marched back to the supply tables"). Throughout, the love among Little Shaq's family members shines through in their interactions, and the story delivers a message without triteness. Taylor’s full-color illustrations break up text on almost every page, adding warmth and energy. (Final art not seen.)

A solid sequel, easily accessible to readers who missed Volume 1. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61963-844-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016


From the Lucy Tries Sports series

It’s a slam dunk

Lucy discovers that the way to learn to play basketball is with friends on a neighborhood court.

Lucy loves playing in the park, and one day she and her friends join their friend Ava and her cousin in their new favorite sport: basketball. Pro player Jermaine, aka “Coach J,” teaches all the basics—footwork, quick passes, dribbling, and a variety of shots. But he also encourages the players to keep trying when they miss, stresses the value of teamwork, and focuses on fun as they learn and later play a practice game. At the end of the workout, Coach J invites the young players to watch him and his team play. Written in loose rhyming couplets, the text has many near rhymes and inconsistent meter. While the storyline is predictable, the book is a good introduction to basketball terms, and young basketball players and fans will appreciate reading about themselves. Vivid silhouetted figures against a white background portray male and female players of several races; Lucy herself is white while Ava and Coach J are black. One young player competes from a wheelchair. A half page of backmatter explains the history of basketball, the NBA and its players, and wheelchair basketball, and one entry also explains the three-on-three basketball that the children play. The book publishes in a simultaneous French edition translated by Rachel Martinez.

It’s a slam dunk . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1697-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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