Yes, Fang, you’ll be fine with your fishy friend by your side.

NUGGET & FANG GO TO SCHOOL

A shark attends Mini Minnows Elementary with his best bud, a minnow, but his day is not a smooth one in this return for Nugget & Fang (2013).

Nugget and Fang are best friends, a relationship facilitated by the shark’s vegetarian diet. Though most other sea creatures panic and flee the extremely toothy Fang, the mini minnows are an exception; in their previous outing, Fang saved them from being a menu item. To thank him, they invite Fang to school. The shark is excited, but anxiety hits on the first day, and the giant shark is plagued by questions and what-ifs that his tiny friend just takes in stride. Nugget’s mantra is “You’ll be fine.” But Fang is decidedly not fine: He struggles in every subject and suffers through many mishaps. The final straw lands at the end of the day, when all the fish are expected to share something with the class. After flailing and flopping his way through the school day, Fang doesn’t want to present. When it’s finally his turn, his anxiety has his fins and his tongue tied in knots. But then he spies Nugget, his best friend, and he has no doubt about what is most important for everyone to know. The Photoshop illustrations are bright and colorful. Slack deftly portrays Fang’s every emotion, his toothy frowns and worried eyebrows complementing his slumped body and dorsal fin. Readers will no doubt feel empathetic.

Yes, Fang, you’ll be fine with your fishy friend by your side. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-54826-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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