Welcome, Mary! We hope to see you again.

READ REVIEW

MARY HAD A LITTLE GLAM

Pinkalicious + Fancy Nancy + Eloise = Mary, the diminutive, precocious, brown-skinned queen of glam.

The day Mary starts school, she declares to her mom, “I must accessorize.” And she does. With bows, buttons, scarves, and even a sheep-shaped purse with an attitude, Mary turns heads all over town. Her drab-looking (though racially diverse) classmates at Mother Goose Elementary (Little Boy Blue, Georgie Porgie, and Little Bo Peep as well as the unnamed others) certainly appear to have stepped out of eras long gone by. The brown-skinned teacher, complete with a bun atop her crown, also appears to be a relic. Mary soon changes their glamless lives with beads, feather boas, sporty hats, and festive patterns aplenty. Mary’s makeover magic leaves no school subject or space unturned. When recess arrives, a crisis ensues, for the kids are dressed all wrong for romping. Undaunted, Mary knows exactly what to do. Sauer’s rhythm never falters, and Brantley-Newton’s bright, fun-filled illustrations teem with energy and life and will keep young readers guessing: who or what will Mary accessorize next, and how? The array of skin tones will help all readers see themselves in this book in which imagination and creativity reign supreme. Whether by happenstance or by design, this delightful picture book positively answers the call for more books about children of color that aren’t about civil rights or slavery.

Welcome, Mary! We hope to see you again. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1393-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A quirky, fun story that will appeal to young audiences looking for a little bit of scare, with a premise so good it...

FEAR THE BUNNY

A tiger can’t believe it’s being upstaged in this picture-book riff on William Blake’s famous poem.

A group of zoologically diverse animals huddle around a fire, listening to a porcupine read from a chilling poem: “Bunnies, bunnies, burning bright, / in the forests of the night—.” An incredulous tiger interrupts, saying that the poem is actually about it. But a squirrel matter-of-factly states that “Here, it’s ‘bunnies, bunnies.’ ” The tiger still doesn’t understand why the animals would be so afraid of bunnies but not afraid of tigers and tries to explain why it, an apex predator, is far more threatening. The smaller animals remain unimpressed, calmly telling the tiger that “In this forest, we fear the bunny” and that it should “Hide now, before it’s too late.” An amusing and well-done premise slightly disappoints at the climax, with the tiger streaking away in terror before a horde of headlamp-wearing bunnies, but eager readers never learn what, exactly, the bunnies would do if they caught up. But at the end, a group of tigers joins the other animals in their awestruck reading of the adapted Blake poem, included in full at the end. Cute, fuzzy illustrations contrast nicely with the dark tone and forest background.

A quirky, fun story that will appeal to young audiences looking for a little bit of scare, with a premise so good it overcomes a weak conclusion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7800-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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