BEAR IN PINK UNDERWEAR

Unrealistic in several ways but good at least for sniggers, this follow-up to Bear in Underwear (2010) features plenty of views of Bear on the soccer pitch clad in nothing below the waist but undies. The tighty whities of the previous episode give way to dinky pinkies after Bear washes them with his red jersey, but since they’re his lucky underwear he bears the continuing mockery of the opposing squad—“You look like a girl!” “You stink and your shorts are pink!” etc.—to score the winning goal. Not only do the losers change their opinion (“Wow, pink’s alright!”), but Bear’s own team members all don pink BVDs in solidarity: “Pink isn’t yucky! It’s super cool and super lucky!” While there is some charm to the notion of a soccer team that includes a beaver, a hedgehog and Big Foot, it isn't enough to sustain a whole lot of investment on the part of young readers. Logically minded children will wonder why Bear’s lucky (and still-white—this is before the laundry tragedy) undies are the only things gleaming white as Bear and his teammates stand, "covered in mud, including Bear and his lucky underwear." A sliding panel on the front cover that drops Bear’s shorts with the pull of a tab is the high (low) point of this dismal one-joker. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-60905-077-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A beautifully poignant celebration of memories of a loved one that live on in those that remain.

THE SOUR CHERRY TREE

With ample emotional subtext, a young girl recalls everyday details about her beloved grandfather the day after his death.

The child bites her mother’s toe to wake her up, wishing that she could have done the same for her baba bozorg, her beloved grandfather, who had forgotten to wake up the day before. She kisses a pancake that reminds her of her grandfather’s face. Her mother, who had been admonishing her for playing with her food, laughs and kisses the pancake’s forehead. Returning to Baba Bozorg’s home, the child sees minute remnants of her grandfather: a crumpled-up tissue, smudgy eyeglasses, and mint wrappers in his coat pockets. From these artifacts the narrator transitions to less tangible, but no less vivid, memories of playing together and looks of love that transcend language barriers. Deeply evocative, Hrab’s narrative captures a child’s understanding of loss with gentle subtlety, and gives space for processing those feelings. Kazemi’s chalk pastel art pairs perfectly with the text and title: Pink cherry hues, smoky grays, and hints of green plants appear throughout the book, concluding in an explosion of vivid green that brings a sense of renewal, joy, and remembrance to the heartfelt ending. Though the story is universally relevant, cultural cues and nods to Iranian culture will resonate strongly with readers of Iranian/Persian heritage. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A beautifully poignant celebration of memories of a loved one that live on in those that remain. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77147-414-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Bittersweet—would that climate change were so easily solved.

SONG FOR THE SNOW

For the past two winters snow hasn’t come to Freya’s town. Will an old, forgotten song help to bring it back?

In language that is almost poetic, Lappano tells the story of Freya, who loved the way snow looked and felt, and how the air changed when snow was coming. It’s been two winters now since it last came, and Freya is afraid her memories of snow are fading. At the market with her father, “a soft, twinkling melody danced in Freya’s ears.” Following the sound, Freya finds a woman holding a snow-globe music box. She gifts Freya the globe and tells her it plays an old and special song. For generations, says the woman, the song was sung by the townspeople, and some believed it was “the magic of the song that called the snow home.” Back home, her mother remembers the words, but though Freya sings them over many days, the snow does not come. Eventually, she teaches the words to her friends, who take the song home, and soon “the song once again filled their homes and hearts.” And finally (and predictably), the snow comes. Eggenschwiler’s artwork matches the gentle and magical telling of the story with textural illustrations in a limited palette of soft colors. Freya, her family, and the woman present White; the townspeople are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Bittersweet—would that climate change were so easily solved. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-268-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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