Not a necessary addition to holiday shelves.

SOMETHING NEW FOR ROSH HASHANAH

A holiday celebrating a new year should include some new foods, shouldn’t it?

Becca, 5 years old, has straight red hair, pink cheeks, and a determined way of saying “NO!” Her parents are getting ready for the Jewish new year and want Becca to try something new to eat. Papa will have a new look, now sans moustache. Mama will have a new hobby, knitting. Becca should try new foods, perhaps some greens or brisket or chicken soup. Her response is steadfastly negative until, “the biggest green bean ever seen” appears in solitary splendor on her plate. Becca is happy at last, though why this makes a difference when nothing else has goes unexplained. The text centers on Ashkenazic food traditions along with the custom of having or doing something new for the new year. There is no mention, until the brief author’s note, of any religious observances or significance. Families who celebrate the holiday will find little of substance to share. Others will likely come away with no relevant understanding. The cartoon illustrations are colorful and depict an array of traditional foods including apples, but no jar of honey is visible. There is also a marmalade cat who mimics Becca’s facial expressions. The text is in rhythmic quatrains with a second line of repeats that are sometimes awkward to read aloud. “Becca doesn’t eat things green, / never green, ever green. / Not a lettuce leaf or bean. / Especially if they’re new.”

Not a necessary addition to holiday shelves. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-72840-339-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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Charming Easter fun.

PETER EASTER FROG

You may know the Easter Bunny, but get ready to meet Peter Easter Frog!

Peter loves Easter, and he’s not going to let the fact that he’s a frog and not a bunny stop him, especially when he’s so good at hopping! He looks absolutely delighted to be hopping around delivering Easter eggs. As he hops along, so does a repeated refrain, which always begins with two words ending with “-ity” coupled with “Easter’s on its—” (“Squishity, squashity, Easter’s on its—”; “Yippity, yappity, Easter’s on its—”); each page turn playfully upends the expected conclusion of the line. Karas’ cheery art portrays a growing array of animals: a turtle decked out in lipstick and a spiffy Easter bonnet, a cow with flower choker necklace, and a sheepdog and a chipmunk sans finery. As Peter gives out colorful, patterned Easter eggs to the other animals, they are, at first, shocked to see an Easter frog but soon join him in his charitable mission to spread Easter cheer. The moment when the cow responds to the dog’s challenge that she is not a cow-bunny by pointing out its own breed as a “sheepdog” may elicit laughs, especially from adult readers. When the group finally meets the real Easter Bunny—hilariously, at the end of a dark tunnel—it seems that things may go awry, but all ends hoppily, happily, and inclusively. The text does not use dialogue tags, instead setting narration and dialogue in separate, distinctive typefaces; unfortunately, this design is not consistently applied, which may confuse readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.8% of actual size.)

Charming Easter fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6489-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A decent romp with a few drawbacks.

EVEN SUPERHEROES MAKE MISTAKES

Caped crusaders take responsibility.

Everybody makes mistakes, even superheroes. This picture book uses rhyming couplets and playful, cartoon artwork to illustrate a variety of scenarios in which masked avengers mess up. They trip and fall, they catch “the wrong guys,” they even oversleep. Regardless of their missteps, heroes always get back up and try again, and they certainly do their best to set things right. The author’s sermon on personal responsibility is a bit too long, but little readers will enjoy the variety of superheroics on display. The mix of superhero-specific misdeeds (muffing the alignment of a bridge they are building) with totally unrelated ones (singing off-key) feels totally arbitrary and a little unkind, but for children facing difficulties with their own behavior, this picture book that acknowledges that “perfection is rare” and an apology goes far certainly hits the spot. The illustrations are suitably dynamic and colorful, boasting a range of male and female superheroes of various sizes and colors. Two negatives to the art: A preponderance of identified “bandits” appear to be people of color, and all three female heroes are wasp-waisted, and two wear short shorts and midriff-baring tops while the guys are covered head to toe. These trends really, really need to go.

A decent romp with a few drawbacks. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2703-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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