Only for settings in desperate need of another fart book.

NO ONE LIKES A FART

The trials and tribulations of a toot.

“Fart slipped out silently, invisibly, when no one was paying attention.” It was Dad who let out the little brown cloud with an expressive face. His family is offended by the odor. “If you were stuck in there you’d want out, too!” says Dad. The little fart thinks he better move on; he would like to make friends. He glides into a room where a boy and dog play. The boy smells Fart and blames the dog. No friends here. Next Fart flies by a mother and infant out for a run—but the mom thinks the baby’s diaper’s full. No friends here either. Fart travels past two kids on a bench (who blame an old man) and then onto a bus where three different kids all blame one another. Finally Fart realizes he is the one repelling all of these would-be friends. He sadly drifts through a cafe (offending everyone) and out into the alley—where he meets a purple burp. And the two are stinky (and happy) together. This story of the thunder down under (from Down Under) doesn’t totally stink; it’s an adequate tale of self-acceptance and finding your people. Blake’s trouser-trumpet text’s a bit wordy, and there are few giggles beyond the initial laugh at the anthropomorphized gas cloud with spindly arms and legs. Nickel’s cartoon illustrations appear a bit retro and lean toward the browner hues.

Only for settings in desperate need of another fart book. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9189-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

CARPENTER'S HELPER

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Sweet, good-hearted fun.

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THE SOUR GRAPE

From the Food Group series

A recovering curmudgeon narrates life lessons in the latest entry in the punny Food Group series.

Grape wasn’t always sour, as they explain in this origin story. Grape’s arc starts with an idyllic childhood within “a close-knit bunch” in a community of “about three thousand.” The sweet-to-sour switch begins when Grape plans an elaborate birthday party to which no one shows up. Going from “sweet” to “bitter,” “snappy,” and, finally, “sour,” Grape “scowled so much that my face got all squishy.” Minor grudges become major. An aha moment occurs when a run of bad luck makes Grape three hours late for a meetup with best friend Lenny, who’s just as acidic as Grape. After the irate lemon storms off, Grape recognizes their own behavior in Lenny. Alone, Grape begins to enjoy the charms of a lovely evening. Once home, the fruit browses through a box of memorabilia, discovering that the old birthday party invitation provided the wrong date! “I realized nobody’s perfect. Not even me.” Remaining pages reverse the downturn as Grape observes that minor setbacks are easily weathered when the emphasis is on talking, listening, and working things out. Oswald’s signature illustrations depict Grape and company with big eyes and tiny limbs. The best sight gag occurs early: Grape’s grandparents are depicted as elegant raisins. The lessons are as valuable as in previous outings, and kids won’t mind the slight preachiness. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, good-hearted fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-304541-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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