McAnulty and Hocking score again.


From the Max Explains Everything series

Max is happy to share his expertise about the most popular sport on the planet: soccer. He claims to know a lot…but does he really?

Max has been playing soccer for three weeks now; he is a self-proclaimed expert, eager to share his knowledge. Max sure seems to know a lot about the game: the right equipment to use, the warm-up routines, the huddles with the coach and teammates, the referees….Yet he also has a propensity to be sidetracked by everything else happening on and around the pitch: the dandelions and four-leaf clovers growing on the field, the ladybugs and worms wandering in the grass, the fans taking pictures; even the clouds in the sky distract him from the most important part of the game for a soccer player: kicking the ball and scoring goals. His teammates are desperate for him to join in the action: “Kick the ball, Max”; “Max, the ball”; “THE BALL, MAX!” Will all the encouragements work? For Max however, it doesn’t really matter: Soccer is all about having fun and meeting new friends. In this second in the Max Explains Everything series, McAnulty reteams with Hocking, together creating a congenial character whose inattention is largely redeemed by the palpable enthusiasm and passion he shows for soccer and the smile he sports throughout the game. Lively illustrations on two-page spreads do justice to a simple, funny, and exciting story, depicting the reality that Max’s narration elides. Max’s team has players who present both male and female; curly-haired, light-brown–skinned Max, though gendered male on the jacket flap, narrates the text without pronouns, allowing multiple interpretations.

McAnulty and Hocking score again. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-99640-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.


Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A lively celebration of music and expressive dance.


The beat is all around her when a girl takes a walk in the park with her mother.

On a lovely summer day, a young African-American girl in a bright pink sundress and matching sneakers sees, smells, sings, claps and snaps her fingers to an internal rhythm. As a boom box plays its song and a drummer taps his beat, neighborhood children join her in an energetic, pulsating dance culminating in a rousing musical parade. Schofield-Morrison’s brief text has a shout-it-out element as each spread resounds with a two-word phrase: “I shook a rhythm with my hips. /SHAKE SHAKE”; “I tapped the rhythm with my toes. / TIP TAP.” Morrison’s full-bleed, textured oil paintings capture the joy of a mother and daughter in an urban park surrounded by musicians, food vendors and many exuberant children. Read this aloud with music playing loudly—not in the background. Morrison is a Coretta Scott King/New Talent Award winner, and this is a fine debut for his wife in their first collaboration.

A lively celebration of music and expressive dance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61963-178-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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