Want to SEE a GOOD Book? Read this one.

IT WASN'T ME

From the Hueys series , Vol. 2

The Hueys are back, and this time they’re testy.

Jeffers opens his latest story about a cast of stick-limbed, jelly-bean–shaped, multicolored characters with the line: “The thing about the Hueys… / …was that most of the time they got along.” With this setup, the art on the next page then illustrates a time when they don’t. Jeffers eschews background detail and places the Hueys on empty white or monochromatic pages with just scribbled indications of ground and shadow as they stand about talking. The fearlessly spare setting enables the Hueys’ simple forms to stand out; speech balloons visually describe their mounting anger. (These are filled first with whimsical flying creatures and objects, then with expressive abstract scribbling to indicate anger and finally with hand-lettered script.) Finally, when a Huey named Gillespie happens upon the scene and asks, “What are you fighting for?” the conflict escalates as one after another denies blame, which gives rise to the book’s title. Gillespie, a peacemaker to his Huey core, persists and asks, “WHAT ARE you Fighting ABOUT?” This stumps his peers, and a page drained of all color captures the chagrined silence of this shift in the story. Not one to gloat or rub his cohorts’ faces in their pettiness, Gillespie quickly distracts his pals with an enticing invitation: “want to SEE a DEAD Fly?” And who wouldn’t?

Want to SEE a GOOD Book? Read this one. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25768-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A delectable bilingual experience.

¡VAMOS! LET'S GO EAT

From the ¡Vamos! series

Little Lobo is tasked with nourishing nine famished luchadores.

Following ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market (2019), author/illustrator Raúl the Third and colorist Bay create a second installment in their bilingual series, ¡Vamos!, here following Little Lobo’s journey as he provides sustenance to hungry lucha libre stars. The cheerfully energetic anthropomorphic wolf reprises his role as a bike courier when he receives a message from El Toro and makes his way to el Coliseo, winding and weaving through busy streets. A mouthwatering experience follows as Little Lobo—accompanied by dog Bernabé and rooster pal Kooky Dooky—picks up tacos, diced fruit, freshly made tortillas, flan, and buñuelos from a gathering of food trucks. As in his other work, Raúl the Third imbues his pages with real-world and pop-culture references. An homage to Picasso’s Guernica, recognizable Ciudad Juárez–El Paso landmarks, a Chavo del Ocho inside a barrel, and even a Chapulín Colorado marionette all make the cut. Readers ignorant of these specifics will not feel left out: The busy pages filled with interesting characters and intriguing bilingual signage make readers wish they could jump into the pages and experience the bustling town. Bay’s comic book–style coloring and creative textures provide a deep cultural exposure to the lavish array of Mexican food throughout the spreads. After enjoying the story, readers will keep going back to savor all the minuscule details.

A delectable bilingual experience. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-55704-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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