More female-powered action from an inspired creative team.

FOLLOW THAT FROG!

Following Special Delivery (2015) and The Only Fish in the Sea (2017), a third adventure from Stead and Cordell finds young Sadie playing a supporting role to elderly Aunt Josephine, whose tales of past adventures drive the action.

Aunt J directs Sadie to ignore the persistent knocking. “It could be a vacuum salesman. Or more likely, a suitor….I have been the world over, Sadie, and today—I will sleep past noon.” But instead of sleeping, she spins a yarn. Beginning with her work as a 9-year-old member of a multiracial scientific team in “the jungles of Peru,” Aunt Josephine recounts sighting a giant frog as it swallows the young son (smitten with her) of the recently deceased expedition leader. The frog’s escape begets Aunt J’s around-the-world journey. “For though I didn’t care much for the admiral’s son, I do abhor a job unfinished. And it was my job to catalog that frog!” Cordell’s visual drollery embellishes the exploits, which include Josephine’s dog, a rhea, a parrot, a tortoise, an ordinary frog, and a few canaries. Thought-bubble vignettes show the group at Egyptian pyramids, the Taj Mahal, and the Roman Colosseum. Over years, a pith-helmeted Josephine hikes, bikes, dives, and pilots a helicopter—all in exuberant but vain pursuit of that frog. Cordell provides hand-lettered display type for some text along with a houseful of domestic animals and visual clues to Josephine’s and Sadie’s prior adventures. A final page lets readers discover the source of that knocking. Hint: it’s no vacuum salesman. Both Sadie and Aunt J present White.

More female-powered action from an inspired creative team. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4426-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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