Campy (and camping) humor and a solid message will have readers wanting s’more! (Animal fantasy. 5-9)

THE INFAMOUS RATSOS CAMP OUT

From the Infamous Ratsos series , Vol. 4

The Ratsos go on a Big City Scouts camping trip.

When Big Lou brings his sons, Louie and Ralphie, and their scout group (introducing new characters as fellow scouts) on a big camping trip, he has a special surprise for them: Grandpa Ratso, who had been Big Lou’s scout leader back in the day, will be joining them to run the campout. Grandpa Ratso introduces them to the old Big City Scout Oath, which the older scouts latch onto: “No matter the problem / we solve it ourselves; / we know we can fix it / without any help.” They also adopt Grandpa’s dismissive attitude toward the handbook. This shift isn’t much of a stretch, as older side characters have already labeled brainy Velma a nerd and mocked her academic aptitude. The toxic masculinity that underlies this refusal to ask for help or direction is mined for all sorts of humorous mishaps—soggy tents, lack of food, and, of course, getting lost. Meanwhile, the younger scouts use their heads and, under the guidance of the handbook, rack up badges while saving the day, natch. The story’s climax brings in Grandma Ratso to set everyone straight, clearing up some confusion about the oath and reinforcing the message that it’s both smart and good to ask for help. While young readers may struggle with the cast size, the humor and funny illustrations make for a worthy compass.

Campy (and camping) humor and a solid message will have readers wanting s’more! (Animal fantasy. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0006-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers.

THE INFAMOUS RATSOS

From the Infamous Ratsos series , Vol. 1

Two little rats decide to show the world how tough they are, with unpredictable results.

Louie and Ralphie Ratso want to be just like their single dad, Big Lou: tough! They know that “tough” means doing mean things to other animals, like stealing Chad Badgerton’s hat. Chad Badgerton is a big badger, so taking that hat from him proves that Louie and Ralphie are just as tough as they want to be. However, it turns out that Louie and Ralphie have just done a good deed instead of a bad one: Chad Badgerton had taken that hat from little Tiny Crawley, a mouse, so when Tiny reclaims it, they are celebrated for goodness rather than toughness. Sadly, every attempt Louie and Ralphie make at doing mean things somehow turns nice. What’s a little boy rat supposed to do to be tough? Plus, they worry about what their dad will say when he finds out how good they’ve been. But wait! Maybe their dad has some other ideas? LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books. Each of the first six chapters features a new, failed attempt by Louie and Ralphie to be mean, and the final, seventh chapter resolves everything nicely. The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers’ sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos’ “unwelcome” mat.

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7636-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child.

ALWAYS WITH YOU, ALWAYS WITH ME

Grammy-winning, multiplatinum singer/songwriter Rowland teams up with California teacher McKay to celebrate busy moms.

This picture book highlights a mother’s frequent longing to be with her child when life’s demands pull them apart. The story takes us through a busy Black mom’s week: She goes to work (at a construction site where she appears to be an engineer), works from home on her son’s sick day, takes him to a museum, and shares domestic duties with her Black male partner, who is a nurse. She encounters many bumps in the road that will be familiar to working parents. Each day, she gently reassures her son with a lyrical refrain: “Always with you, / Always with me, / Mommy and child / Together we’ll be.” This tender story, narrated in the voice of a mother addressing her child, pulls at the heartstrings. Liem’s digital artwork uses a warm palette and has a calming quality. The characters’ body language and heartfelt facial expressions are spot-on. This book will resonate with any mom who knows the heartache of having to say goodbye to their child or who has faced the teary-eyed frustration of a youngster experiencing separation anxiety. Young readers, on the other hand, will find solace in the reassuring narrative. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46551-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more