For fans of Google, trivia, and family strength.

THE GREAT GOOGLINI

From the Orca Echoes series

A young Canadian boy copes with the news that his uncle has cancer in Cassidy’s early chapter book.

Filip Horvat, the son of two Croatian immigrants, is about to complete his “tenth orbit around the sun.” An avid collector of facts, Filip, along with his best friend, Ivan, spends hours on Google looking up everything he can. When the news that his beloved uncle has been diagnosed with cancer comes on the heels of his birthday party, however, Filip’s mind reels with worry and questions. As any researcher worth their salt would, Filip turns to Google, and after finding out some information about what cancer is and how it is treated, he asks the question that is foremost in his mind: “Will Uncle Mato be alright?” A moment later, the Great Googlini—a tiny woman of color who is one of the information scientists inside Google who answer all the questions people ask—appears in a puff of computer smoke to answer him. Cassidy has crafted a thoughtful glimpse into the life of an immigrant family, and despite the refreshingly straightforward look at cancer and the struggle of having a loved one undergo treatment, the narrative retains its slice-of-life focus. Chua’s spot art depicts Filip, his family, and Ivan as white, gives some visual depth to various scenes, and helps nascent chapter-book readers with comprehension and pacing.

For fans of Google, trivia, and family strength. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1703-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Produced to celebrate the National Park Service’s upcoming centenary, a breezy invitation to prospective travelers to “get...

OUR GREAT BIG BACKYARD

A family road trip through several national parks transforms young Jane’s feelings about missing out on a summer of online fun with her friends.

“There’s absolutely nothing to see here,” Jane emails fretfully as her family drives through the scenic Smoky Mountains and canoes past alligators and manatees in the Everglades. But once her dad gets her to put the tablet away and look through a telescope at the night skies over Big Bend National Park, her attitude transforms: “OH WOW!” Soon she’s tiptoeing over the Grand Canyon’s Skywalk like an acrobat, playing pirate on a raft down the Colorado River, scouting out “Mountain lions, buffalo, and bears. Oh my!” in Yellowstone—and, discovering that she’s misplaced her electronic device, sending written postcards to her friends from Yosemite. Furthermore, once back home, what better way to debrief than a backyard cookout under the stars? Giving blonde Jane and the rest of her white family broad, pleasant features, Rogers sends them smiling and singing their way through a succession of natural wonders, with bears and bald eagles, footnotes (adult supervision required on the Skywalk, for instance), and only a few fellow, occasionally diverse tourists in the background. Endpaper maps track the long itinerary, and a (select) list of other national parks and sites in each state offers more destinations.

Produced to celebrate the National Park Service’s upcoming centenary, a breezy invitation to prospective travelers to “get out there!” (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-246835-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

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