A fine example of contemporary multicultural literature.

A MORNING WITH GRANDPA

Debut author Liu scores with a sweet story about the joys of intergenerational relationships.

Some children bake cookies with their grandpas. Others play chess with their grandmas. Mei Mei and her grandfather, Gong Gong, find a special way to connect. “Tai chi is a martial art that sends good energy through your body,” explains Gong Gong. “Martial art!…I can do karate. HI-YAH!” replies Mei Mei. As Gong Gong demonstrates his graceful tai chi moves, Mei Mei interprets them using her own style and tempo. “Gong Gong conducted a quiet symphony. Mei Mei drummed the earth with hands and feet.” Next, Mei Mei teaches Gong Gong some yoga moves. Mei Mei sits elegantly like a mermaid “with one leg bent behind her and the other leg folded in front….a creature of the deep sea guarding treasures.” Gong Gong on the other hand, “twisted his leg this way and that and almost fell over. He was a fish in the water trying to escape a dangling hook.” Together, Liu’s lively text and Forshay’s playful illustrations effectively capture a true-to-life relationship that transcends cultures and generations. Vibrant colors, dynamic scenes, and bubbly expressions—cross-eyed Mei Mei sucking in her cheeks is a winner!—all add to the giggles. The love between the two shines through in both text and illustrations. The illustrated guide to tai chi and yoga poses that follows the story is a pleasing touch.

A fine example of contemporary multicultural literature. (glossary, sources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62014-192-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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