A must-have picture book that educates while it thoroughly entertains.

TO CARNIVAL!

A CELEBRATION IN SAINT LUCIA

A festive Creole story that will encourage readers to dance, sing, and celebrate Carnival.

Melba’s excitement for Carnival makes it hard for her to sleep the night before. On her way to the festival, she encounters Misyé Francois, who plays steel pan drums and sings a song about a “crazy mannikou.” Melba stops to listen a little too long and misses her bus, and both a mannikou (readers unfamiliar with St. Lucian Creole will recognize this as an opossum from the illustrations) and the drummer follow her to Carnival, as does everyone else she encounters along the way, both human and animal. When Melba nears town, she sees a crowd of brown-skinned St. Lucians dressed in costumes and bright, patterned clothes. Glatt’s stylized illustrations portray most characters with reddish-brown skin, long noses, and rosy cheeks; she paints the tropics in deep greens and bright yellows and the cityscape in an array of bright colors. Melba and friends miss the parade but make their own, delighting bystanders. The backmatter bridges cultural gaps by explaining what Creole is, defining the culturally specific language, and explaining where St. Lucia is and what Carnival celebrates, both historically and now. The author’s note reveals St. Lucian writer Paul’s motivation for creating the book, and Glatt’s illustrator’s note explains her Brazilian experience of Carnival. Glatt’s paint, pencil, and crayon illustrations truly capture the festive spirit of this celebration.

A must-have picture book that educates while it thoroughly entertains. (glossary, maps) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64686-161-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

SLUG IN LOVE

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A lovely story of giving and community founded in Nigerian culture. Delectable.

THANK YOU, OMU!

Omu makes a stew so delicious everyone in the neighborhood follows their noses to her door.

Omu (which means “queen” in Igbo—Omu is black) is making a “thick red stew in a big fat pot” for her dinner. She tastes it, saying it’ll be the most delicious supper she’s ever had, while out the window drifts the scent of the “scrumptious” stew until it reaches a little boy. The story is peppered with synonyms for “scrumptious” (itself repeated throughout), allowing readers the chance to discuss and expand vocabulary. When the little boy follows the smell to Omu’s door, she kindly offers to share her stew with him. So begins a veritable parade of neighborhood residents who, led by the smell, end up at Omu’s door. The collage art adds texture, depth, and distinctiveness to each character. Omu shares her thick red stew with all and receives grateful thanks in reply. Alas, when Omu looks for her own supper, she finds her pot empty. The expressive illustrations convey her despondency as she answers yet another knock at her door to find…that the multiracial neighbors she shared with are back! This time, they have gifts in hand and are ready to make her a wonderful supper, which turns into another shared meal and a dance party.

A lovely story of giving and community founded in Nigerian culture. Delectable. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-43124-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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