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Community gardeners everywhere will want to “rise” to the challenge.

How big is “big”? An entire community is about to find out.

Victoria, who is brown-skinned, and her friend Mrs. Kosta, who is light-skinned, decide to bring a beet salad to the potluck block party in July—but first they have to grow the beet. They plant the seed and tend their garden for months until summer reveals an enormous surprise. The beet is gigantic! A parade of community helpers joins in to tug that recalcitrant veggie out of the ground, to no avail. No matter how many times Victoria offers to help, she’s pooh-poohed for her small size. Instead, as everyone is groaning and moaning, the child prepares the fixings for the beet salad. Meanwhile, the line of neighbors is getting longer and longer until they block the bus lane. “But that big red beet wouldn’t budge. Not even ONE LITTLE BIT.” The enterprising child takes matters into her own hands. With the help of a jump-rope and a trike, Victoria adds that right amount of oomph to yank that red beet right out—just in time for the potluck. Cohen’s modern, urban take on the Russian folktale “The Enormous Turnip” unites a diverse neighborhood for a comically common cause. The jaunty refrain is fun to recite after each failed attempt. Lugo’s colorfully detailed illustrations add to the humorous enterprise. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Community gardeners everywhere will want to “rise” to the challenge. (author’s note, recipe for raw beet & garlic salad) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 9781534112711

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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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. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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A fresh take on an enduring theme.

When Irie tells her momma she hates her big poofy hair, her momma explains that everything about Irie was perfectly custom made.

Irie wants her hair to swing and bounce like the “pretty hair” that “everyone else” has. But Momma tells her that she didn’t make Irie to be like everyone else. “I made you to be you.” Momma explains that when she was expecting Irie, she talked to God and made special requests. Out of all the skin tones in the world, Momma chose her favorite for Irie. The same for her hair type, her sparkling eyes, her kissable nose, and her bright smile. Momma also chose a good heart for Irie, and when she was born, she was perfect, and as she grew, she was kind. When Momma tells her “you are all of my favorite things,” Irie runs to the mirror and sees herself with new eyes: a “most perfect me.” This sweet, imaginative tale highlights the importance of parental love in boosting children’s self-esteem and will be a touching read-aloud for families who have struggled with issues of fitting in. The story is a challenging one to illustrate; the full-color digital art is warm with soft shades of natural-looking color but struggles to create engaging scenes to accompany Momma’s explanation of her conversation with God. The multiple spreads showing Irie and Momma flying through the atmosphere among clouds, stars, and hearts become a bit monotonous and lack depth of expression. Characters are Black. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fresh take on an enduring theme. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-42694-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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