Too bad this tea is lukewarm.

NO TOOTING AT TEA

It’s teatime, and everything must be perfect. But wait—what was that sound?

A tousled-haired, jewelry-bedecked hostess welcomes two friends and an array of pet and toy guests for tea. But something—or someone—keeps tooting, and everyone knows “there is no tooting at tea.” Heim’s humorous tale of a tea party gone wrong vies for a seat at a table full of stories old and new. The text is clever enough, featuring a cheekily informative if Eurocentric afterword. The endlessly entertaining theme of flatulence, a satisfying portrayal of an imperious friend getting her just deserts (and desserts?), and the delightfully indelicate alliteration of the titular tooting should invite a wide audience. Regrettably, both design and illustrations make this party a little more exclusive. Fussy lettering, replete with curlicues and adorned with butterflies, flowers, and ribbons, clearly addresses this book to the pretty-pretty-princess set. Not’s art, with loose line drawings and Photoshop coloring, lacks depth, weight, and sophistication, appearing shabby among such company as Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy tales, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. All three girls appear to be white, and a blandly beautiful mother oversees the fete from afar. For tea with a little more body, see Ame Dyckman’s Tea Party Rules, illustrated by K.G. Campbell (2013), or Molly Idle’s Tea Rex (2013).

Too bad this tea is lukewarm. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-77474-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

AARON SLATER, ILLUSTRATOR

From the Questioneers series

The latest book in the Questioneer series centers an African American boy who has dyslexia.

Roberts’ characteristic cartoon illustrations open on a family of six that includes two mothers of color, children of various abilities and racial presentations, and two very amused cats. In a style more expressive and stirring than other books in the series, Beaty presents a boy overcoming insecurities related to reading comprehension. Like Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, the boy’s namesake, the protagonist loves to draw. More than drawing, however, young Aaron wishes to write, but when he tries to read, the letters appear scrambled (effectively illustrated with a string of wobbly, often backward letters that trail across the pages). The child retreats into drawing. After an entire school year of struggle, Aaron decides to just “blend in.” At the beginning of the next school year, a writing prompt from a new teacher inspires Aaron, who spends his evening attempting to write “a story. Write something true.” The next day in class, having failed to put words on paper, Aaron finds his voice and launches into a story that shows how “beauty and kindness and loving and art / lend courage to all with a welcoming heart.” In the illustration, a tableau of colorful mythological beings embodies Aaron’s tale. The text is set in a dyslexia-friendly type. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5396-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best.

THE SMART COOKIE

From the Food Group series

This smart cookie wasn’t alwaysa smart cookie.

At the corner of Sweet Street stands a bakery, which a whole range of buns and cakes and treats calls home, including a small cookie who “didn’t feel comfortable speaking up or sharing” any ideas once upon a time. During the early days of gingerbread school, this cookie (with sprinkles on its top half, above its wide eyes and tiny, smiling mouth) never got the best grades, didn’t raise a hand to answer questions, and almost always finished most tests last, despite all best efforts. As a result, the cookie would worry away the nights inside of a cookie jar. Then one day, kind Ms. Biscotti assigns some homework that asks everyone “to create something completely original.” What to do? The cookie’s first attempts (baking, building a birdhouse, sculpting) fail, but an idea strikes soon enough. “A poem!” Titling its opus “My Crumby Days,” the budding cookie poet writes and writes until done. “AHA!” When the time arrives to share the poem with the class, this cookie learns that there’s more than one way to be smart. John and Oswald’s latest installment in the hilarious Food Group series continues to provide plenty of belly laughs (thanks to puns galore!) and mini buns of wisdom in a wholly effervescent package. Oswald’s artwork retains its playful, colorful creative streak. Although slightly less effective than its predecessors due to its rather broad message, this one’s nonetheless an excellent addition to the menu.(This book was reviewed digitally.)

A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304540-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

more