MARY HAD A LITTLE PLAN

From the Mary Had a Little Glam series , Vol. 2

Mary’s “little plan” becomes a major green community project with some planning and assistance.

Mary, a Black girl who wears a nest complete with a family of birds on her head, passes an abandoned lot full of trash and promptly gets an idea for “a cleanup and an overhaul.” She draws a design and, with a caregiver’s help, hauls in paint and decorations and collects donations of flowers, tools, and wood from local shops. After a half-day of picking up trash, though, Mary feels overwhelmed. Prompted by a spider who sits beside her, Mary is inspired to ask friends for help. A diverse group of children and adults joins her efforts to clean up, weed, plant, water, paint a wall, decorate, and set up a free “nook for books.” Even the birds living on Mary’s head help out. Mary and her friends marvel at their neighborhood improvement: “It showed what love can do.” The rhyming text is organized in well-paced couplets that read effortlessly and offer an occasional nod to other nursery rhymes. The type includes words set in a whimsical font in colors that complement Brantley-Newton’s lively, playful illustrations. Mary and her friends have loads of personality, and readers will be charmed by the ingenuity, dedication, and community spirit they display. A light read, this story is a glowing example of the magic that results when a thoughtful initiative receives support. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fun and inspiring. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3303-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are...

1-2-3 PEAS

After an alphabetical, rhyming tour de force (LMNO Peas, 2010), Baker’s energetic pea pack is back—this time, to count by ones and 10s.

Baker sidesteps the trickiness of rhyming the numerals by selecting a repeating word for each short verse. “ONE pea searching—look, look, look, / TWO peas fishing—hook, hook, hook.” Those numerals rise sky-high (to peas, at least) to dominate the digitally composed visuals, often serving as props for the frenzy of vegetative activity. At “TEN peas building—pound, pound, pound,” the peas erect a wooden platform around the numeral—mainly, it would seem, as an excuse for exuberantly hammering dozens of nails. Baker circumvents those oft-pesky ’teens in one deft double-page spread: “Eleven to nineteen—skip, skip, skip!” Then it’s a double-page spread per decade, with peas traveling, napping, watching fireworks and more. “SEVENTY peas singing” provide a bevy of details to spy: A fab foursome (the Peatles) rocks out above a chorus and director. Nearby, a barbershop quartet, a Wagnerian soloist, a showering pea and a dancing “Peayoncé” add to the fun. 

Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are sure to devour Baker’s latest winner. Totally ap-pea-ling! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4551-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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