Showcasing the fun to be had in a spare world, this book is just what many of us need right now.

THE PATCHWORK BIKE

A daring girl in a desert village enjoys riding her brother’s bike made of recycled materials in this unusual picture book by Clarke and political artist Rudd, an Australian import.

A young girl with dark skin, cornrows, and shiny sunglasses, wearing shorts, sneakers, and a T-shirt, introduces readers to “the village where we live inside our mud-for-walls home,” her “crazy brothers” who dance atop a police car, and her “fed-up mum,” who looks elegant in a white hijab and dress. The narrator shows readers the sand hill and the “big Fiori tree” where they play boisterously. “But the best thing of all in our village is me and my brothers’ bike.” The bike’s pieces are composed of a bucket seat, tin-can handlebars, wood-cut wheels, and other spare parts; the flag is a flour sack, and the bell is Mum’s milk pot. The license plate—a piece of bark—has “BLM” painted on it, a political statement that echoes an earlier image of the narrator’s brothers playing atop a junked police car. It’s a rugged ride over sand hills and fields and straight through the home (which perhaps explains why Mum is so fed up), and Rudd’s urban artwork is a fitting way to show it. Over a cardboard background, streaks of paint define the people, objects, and movements that make up the girl’s world. The kids in motion on their bike are rendered in an artful smear that evokes speed. The dark, bright, and desert hues create a blazing-hot world readers can almost step right into.

Showcasing the fun to be had in a spare world, this book is just what many of us need right now. (author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0031-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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