A warmly inclusive book for growing new readers.

THE GARDEN

From the Confetti Kids series

Diverse children work in a community garden.

In Hooks’ story, Lily, a brown-skinned girl with brown curls, says she misses her old suburban home’s garden, and her mother, whose appearance is similar, suggests that she help in the urban community garden near their new home. The ensuing story employs a controlled text and is broken up into short chapters that provide structure and will support feelings of accomplishment in emergent readers. Mr. Sam, who oversees the garden and appears Asian, welcomes her and encourages her to invite friends to help, too. Readers of previous books will recognize familiar names and faces: Henry, Mei, Pablo, and Padma, who are cued in the text or in Ng-Benitez’s appealing watercolor and digital illustrations as white, Asian, Latinx, and South Asian, respectively. Henry and Padma are initially reluctant, while Mei and Pablo are eager, but all agree to try. Mr. Sam shows them how to plant and care for seeds, and Padma is disappointed that it’ll take “months” for plants to grow. This makes Lily worry that her friends aren’t having fun, but, satisfyingly, they persist and are rewarded with literal fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. The visible enthusiasm of the tiny songbirds (underscored by their dialogue: little musical notes followed by exclamation marks) who watch the plants sprout adds sweet humor.

A warmly inclusive book for growing new readers. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62014-565-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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