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A fitting celebration of the first pair of mountaineers to summit Everest.

Tenzing Norgay, who is ethnically Sherpa, grew up herding yaks in Nepal.

Edmund Hillary, a White man, grew up in New Zealand, where he helped care for his father’s bees. Norgay grew up in the shadow of Chomolungma, the mountain that English speakers call Mount Everest. Throughout his childhood, he climbed the nearby Himalayas, always dreaming of summiting the highest peak. Hillary was a dreamer too, a boy who walked barefoot to school in all weather, forever hoping for adventure. While Norgay’s family affectionately scoffed at his dreams, Hillary’s brother accompanied him on some of his earliest mountaineering expeditions in New Zealand. Hillary gained climbing practice when he served in New Zealand’s air force, then with his parents while vacationing in the Swiss Alps. Norgay, on the other hand, gained climbing practice accompanying the many tourists who visited Nepal and wanted to see the Himalayas. Although these two men led disparate, distant lives, their love of mountaineering brought them together in 1953, when they became the first team to ever climb to the top of Chomolungma. This lyrical, clear, and narratively sophisticated picture book alternates between the voices of Norgay on the left and Hillary on the right until they meet. Each sentence is beautifully crafted and a pleasure to read. Corr’s stylized, painterly illustrations burst with color and energy, wonderfully balancing the finely rendered text. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fitting celebration of the first pair of mountaineers to summit Everest. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-266-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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