Give to parents hoping to introduce kids to the joy and wonder of a new baby sibling with none of the mess.

LITTLE BIG GIRL

The granddaughter of syndicated cartoonist Bil Keane (The Family Circus) offers her own spin on family matters and new baby brothers.

They say inspiration begins at home, and so Keane bases her latest book on her own immediate family. Matisse is “a little girl in a big world.” Though the white preschooler goes with her parents to big places and can do big things, her teeth are small, her shoes are small, and even her eyes are small. That’s all before a new baby brother puts everything in perspective. She’s bigger than he is, and that means she has a big job to do, exploring the world with this new little person. With its familiar storyline, it’s Keane's art that is the true star here. Mixing a retro, thick-lined look with hipster touches (Matisse’s black lace-up boots, her mom’s elegant black postpartum blouse), Keane’s digital art best resembles pen, ink, and watercolor. Hints of the new baby’s arrival are hidden in almost every picture before its sudden-to-Matisse appearance. Some new-baby books explore the fears and concerns of older siblings, but Keane’s focuses instead on the joy and wonder of it all—sometimes straining credulity: the new baby never cries once, and diapers are delightful.

Give to parents hoping to introduce kids to the joy and wonder of a new baby sibling with none of the mess. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3912-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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DONOVAN'S BIG DAY

It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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