A NEW HOME

A heartwarming story that depicts the anxiety of moving and leaving the familiarity of one’s own culture behind.

A boy from New York and a girl from Mexico City reminisce about the things they love in their hometowns prior to moving to each other’s respective cities.

After the characters are introduced, the narration unfolds in such a way that it represents the experiences of either child. As the story progresses and the images mirror each other in the spreads, the visual narrative depicts the similar experiences both families have without othering either child. De Regil, in her colored pencil, watercolor, and gouache illustrations, moves from the wide snapshots of either city into close experiences. As both stories merge and progress through the same events (attending sporting and cultural events, playing, traveling to their new homes), the narrative furthers the conversation on the similarities between the protagonists. The stories come together in a sweet moment when they cross paths at the airport, hopeful for the possibilities of different adventures in their new homes. De Regil doesn’t shy away from the problems both countries and cultures experience, such as homelessness and wealth inequality, yet does not place blame. The backmatter provides information on both the landmarks the children visit—such as Lincoln Center, Palacio de Bellas Artes, and the Museo Nacional de Antropología—and the cultures and issues that surround them. The boy presents white, and the girl has brown skin.

A heartwarming story that depicts the anxiety of moving and leaving the familiarity of one’s own culture behind. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0193-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

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