A final verse brings lots of kisses and a smile to baby’s face—an unusual end to a blues song, but perfect for this ballad...

BABY'S GOT THE BLUES

A baby sings the blues, naming his many woes in each verse: wet diapers, mushy meals, legs that don’t walk quite yet and nap time in a crib that feels more like a cage.

Baby endures misery after little misery, while his nearly featureless face relays astonishment, mute pleading and chagrined surrender. Who wants to be stuck in a sling on someone’s back, anyway? Older siblings might finally find some empathy for the babies in their lives—and a few laughs too. The brilliant incongruity of a baby and blues music (usually featuring soured romance, bum luck and booze) hits all the right comedic notes. Baby’s refrain, repeated after each demoralizing episode, howls out for a singalong: B-A-B-Y, baby, Got those…baby blues. Tobia’s pen-and-ink illustrations beg for repeat visits too, with their refreshing portrayal of a bustling urban family. This mama, sporting a tattoo, tank top and a messy ponytail, takes big sister and baby to a pizza-place play date and then a walk along New York City’s High Line. Eye-squinting details (polka dots on the underside of a stuffed bunny’s ears, a paisley pattern on a blanket, etc.) and vivid colors energize these wonderfully ordinary scenes of moms and small children.

A final verse brings lots of kisses and a smile to baby’s face—an unusual end to a blues song, but perfect for this ballad about an infant’s everyday frustrations. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3260-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime.

ELBOW GREASE VS. MOTOZILLA

Who needs sanity when you’ve got family?

The title character of Elbow Grease (2018) and his family of Demolition Derby trucks return to face an all-new competitor. Once again, ’Bo is feeling inadequate next to his fan-favorite brothers. Despite Mel the Mechanic’s encouragement—he’s “the best at getting better”—he wants to be noticed. But instead, he notices someone unavoidable. Motozilla, the monster machine that turns trucks “into crunch sandwiches,” is currently undefeated. Trouble is, you’d need a truck with an array of skills to take him down. Thinking fast, ’Bo makes the wild and somewhat improbable suggestion that he and his brothers join together to form a single supertruck. Will it be enough to take down this bully? Quips, jests, and teamwork are the name of the game as pro wrestler Cena improves on his writing in this second outing, which demonstrates that individual glory falls in the face of concentrated cooperation. Rollicking, radical art portrays the battle in all its gritty glory, mud and twisted metal galore. Human crowds show a diverse range of races and genders, and the trucks’ keeper, Mel, has light-brown skin and wears glasses.

Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7353-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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The soft cadence of the rhyming verses and the joyous pictures of the elephants will make this a bedtime favorite

THIS IS OUR BABY, BORN TODAY

When a baby elephant is born, “wrinkled and gray,” not just the herd, but the whole world rejoices, from morning to night.

From the proud Mama to the grand Aunts, from the “fertile and firm” Earth to the ancient Banyan tree, everyone and everything around the new baby elephant joins in celebration and care for the Baby “who warms the hearts of the world today.” Glowing with warm golds and greens and shadowed with deep blues and greens, the gorgeous artwork lushly illuminates the day of an elephant’s birth as it is cared for by its family and surroundings. The expressions on the elephant faces are sheer joy to behold; the elephant smiles are realistic and yet radiate affection. Seemingly simple, this gentle rhyming story works on two levels: the playfulness of the young elephant and its friends ensure that young children will be able to see themselves in the story, and given the depiction of the natural scenes, at least some young readers will become fascinated with the lives of elephants as well. An author’s note at the end provides background from the Indian-American author’s own life and also draws attention to the present-day need to protect elephants from poaching and the loss of habitat.

The soft cadence of the rhyming verses and the joyous pictures of the elephants will make this a bedtime favorite . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16684-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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