Sisters with too much learn to appreciate their differences in this lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek tale.

THE TWO MUTCH SISTERS

When the titular two Mutch sisters finally collect too much, one sister moves into her own house, prompting the other to make her own dramatic change.

Ruby and Violet Mutch, both white, started their obsessive collecting as little girls. “As the sisters grew, so did their collection” of matched possessions, including sundials and snorkels, clavichords and canoes, gargoyles and glockenspiels, until their house “was stuffed to the shingles with two of everything.” Eventually, an overwhelmed Ruby strikes out on her own, moving her half of the collection to her own new house on the other side of town, where she arranges it as she wants. Ruby’s pleased she’s “made everything just right” but feels something’s missing and isn’t sure what until Violet unleashes a bold plan to ensure the Mutch sisters “never had too much of anything” and just enough of each other. The title’s clever wordplay, the paired collections of bizarre items, and the visually jam-packed pages reinforce the theme of “too much.” Cartoonlike ink-and-watercolor illustrations use bold outlines, bright colors, and whimsical details to chronicle the Mutch sisters’ amusing journey from fledging collectors to full-fledged hoarders and from separation (traced through a double-page map) to contented reunion.

Sisters with too much learn to appreciate their differences in this lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-43074-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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