An innovative, refreshing, out-of-this-world tale about the incredible versatility of afro hair.

STELLA'S STELLAR HAIR

An astronomically creative mix of science, fantasy, and African American culture.

Stella, a little African American girl, needs to prepare for the Big Star Little Gala, but her hair isn’t “acting right”: “It twisted and turned, zigged and zagged, made loopity-loops and lots of curly Q’s.” A huge, swirly mix of purples and pinks with squiggles of yellow and green, Stella’s hair often dominates the page and dwarfs the child. She asks Momma to help, but she sends her daughter instead to Aunt Ofelia on Mercury. Ofelia gives her a “poofy-smooth style”; on Venus, Auntie Alma creates a “royal lion’s mane”; Earth’s Aunt Rubi fashions her hair into an “elegant crown”; and so on. Stella proceeds throughout the galaxy and finally to the sun. At each stop, an aunt gives Stella a hairdo reflective of the aunt’s own style and personality, but none fits Stella. Once helpful advice from Auntie Solana on the sun helps Stella realize the key to happiness with her hair, Stella attends the gala, completely satisfied, along with all of her beautiful Black aunts, sporting their plethora of hairstyles. In Moises’ friendly cartoon images, the vibrant colors change with the location and the atmospheric conditions. The backmatter explains all the different aunts’ hairstyles by speculating what style would be best adapted to the environment of each locale, if humans could live there. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.5% of actual size.)

An innovative, refreshing, out-of-this-world tale about the incredible versatility of afro hair. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26177-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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