A palatable mix of education and entertainment for kids.

The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities

In this debut children’s book by a certified health coach, four young residents of an alien planet discover that they’re destined to develop nutrition-based superpowers.

In what’s clearly intended to be the first of a series of adventures, Marquez introduces young readers to a “small and enchanted” plant-based world and its inhabitants. The Rootlet kids—Brocc, Carrotina, Kaley, and Cornelius—were “just tiny little sprouts” on Planet Planted when they were plucked from the ground by wise Yammy Grammy and her eccentric friend Mr. Fungo Fungi, the owner of the popular Plantasyland amusement park. The adventuresome Rootlets and their dog, Basil, prepare to celebrate Earthrise, a “once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Planet Earth” through Brocc’s “Onion SkySearcher XT8 telescope.” Just before the big event, the Rootlets are surprised to learn that Earth’s appearance is the harbinger of their individual “super magical powers,” or “Rootabilities.” As the unsubtle (but not preachy) tale unfolds, the Rootlets try to imagine what powers they might have (“They started by reading up on all sorts of powers….But the spells wouldn’t cast, the broomsticks wouldn’t fly”). Carrotina is the first to discover hers: keen eyesight. Soon the other Rootlets learn what they can do: Kaley’s skin glows, Cornelius’ muscles are strong, and Brocc’s brain is powerful. Yammy cautions that their Rootabilities are just “newly sprouting” and that it will take time to learn how to use them—but they should always use them for good. Here, the author lightly models such concepts as friendship and teamwork. Overall, Marquez’s intent is obvious: to encourage kids to view healthy eating in a positive light. The book’s target audience will key into its health-conscious tone, and readers should find it easy to relate to the veggie-centric framework. Along the way, Russnak’s colorful, animation-style illustrations entertainingly realize the alien world. The ending promises further adventures to come.

A palatable mix of education and entertainment for kids.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0990721604

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Rootlets

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.


A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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