North American readers and listeners are likely to catch Anna’s enthusiasm just as quickly.

SPLASH, ANNA HIBISCUS!

From the Anna Hibiscus series

On a family trip to the beach, Anna Hibiscus convinces her extended family to join her, splashing and laughing in the waves.

Like Anna Hibiscus’ Song (2011) and chapter books starring this irrepressible child, this celebrates Anna’s family and her home in “amazing Africa.” This beach trip starts on the front endpapers, where careful readers can pick out the boat that will carry her whole family through the title page and to a beach offshore. There, everyone happily finds things to do—read, braid each other’s hair, bury a cousin in the sand, play soccer, chat with the fishermen, compare smartphones. They’re all too busy to play in the waves with Anna. After being turned down by each group of family members (except for her napping grandparents), Anna goes to play with the waves on her own. Worried child readers (and adults) will quickly be relieved; Anna’s enjoyment of the gentle surf is infectious, and she’s soon surrounded by cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, and even the now wide-awake grandparents. Tobia’s joyous illustrations portray this extended family realistically in digitally colored drawings. Only Anna and her Canadian mother have actual bathing suits; the others happily plunge in in their street clothes. Everyone smiles; Anna is irresistible.

North American readers and listeners are likely to catch Anna’s enthusiasm just as quickly. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61067-173-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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