NEW YORK BABY

These babies are too posh for their own good.

In this smug review of daily life in the Big Apple, including its tourist attractions, the developmental mark is missed entirely. A little girl holds her mother's hand as they stroll through the art museum: “We say MoMA when we really mean Mama.” Less obscurely, a four-panel spread depicts a babe in stroller through changing seasons; the snow piles high and a scarf covers the child's face during the blustery winter. The food-cart experience is represented by a bagel, pizza and pretzel, glossed with a gush: “And we have fun learning our shapes!” In a nod to the city's diversity, youngsters greet each other in a host of languages. Busy pops of bold colors emphasize the hustle and bustle. A darkened cityscape seems to promise rest, but one cry ("Waaaa!") lights up the sky. “New York is the city that never sleeps, but New York babies do…sometimes.” Two concluding pages of suggested parent-child activities overwhelm in their attempt to educate.

Pretentious. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9838121-4-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Duo Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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A familiar story skillfully reimagined for today’s gadget-savvy youth.

THE HANNAH CHRONICLES

THE ADVENTURES OF HANNAH HADLEY, GIRL SPY: THE DOOR IN THE FLOOR

Hannah Hadley is a young special agent who must thwart a clear and present danger to the United States in Hoover’s “smart is cool” young adult novel.

Hannah Hadley might seem like most 13-year-old girls. She enjoys painting, playing with her MP3 player and spending time with friends. But that’s where the similarities end. Hadley doubles as Agent 10-1, among the youngest spies drafted into the CIA’s Div Y department. She’s joined in her missions by her 10-pound Shih Tzu, Kiwi (with whom she communicates telepathically), and her best friend Tommie Claire, a blind girl with heightened senses. When duty calls, the group sneaks to a hidden command center located under the floor of Hadley’s art studio. Her current mission, aptly named “Operation Farmer Jones,” takes her to a secluded farmhouse in Canada. There, al-Qaida terrorists have gathered the necessary ingredients for a particularly devastating nuclear warhead that they intend to fire into America. The villains are joined by the Mad Madam of Mayhem, a physicist for hire whom the terrorists force to complete the weapon of mass destruction. With Charlie Higson’s Young James Bond series and the ongoing 39 Clues novellas, covert missions and secret plans are the plots of choice in much of today’s fiction for young readers, and references to the famed 007 stories abound in Hoover’s tale. But while the plot feels familiar, Hoover’s use of modern slang—albeit strained at times—and gadgets such as the iTouch appeal to today’s youth. Placing girls in adult situations has been a mainstay since Mildred Wirt Benson first introduced readers to Nancy Drew in The Secret of the Old Clock, but Hannah Hadley is like Nancy Drew on steroids. Both are athletic, score well in their studies and have a measure of popularity. Hadley, however, displays a genius-level intellect and near superhuman abilities in her efforts to roust the terrorists—handy skills for a young teen spy who just so happens to get the best grades in school.

A familiar story skillfully reimagined for today’s gadget-savvy youth.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-0615419688

Page Count: 239

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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The book’s heart is in the right place, but unfortunately its presentation is not.

I WANT TO BE A READER!

A little boy learns to read.

A black boy sits on a big comfy chair, looking at the book in his lap. “I wish I could read,” he says, and thus begins this board book. Letter by letter and word by word the boy pieces together the book, proud of his accomplishment by book’s end. The book’s intentions are good, but like so many books about the magic of reading, the story is bland. The child’s determination is appealing, but the highly conceptual images (the boy appears four separate times in one spread that has him interacting with giant alphabet blocks and in another struggles to turn the pages of a giant picture book) provide little reality to anchor child readers not yet ready for metafictive outings. Since the pictures are therefore difficult to decode, there is little left beyond the “reading is fun” message—a message that is undercut by the fact that this book may not, in fact, be all that much fun for toddlers not ready for the images.

The book’s heart is in the right place, but unfortunately its presentation is not. (Board book. 2-3)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-936669-55-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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