IN MY MOMMA'S KITCHEN

PLB 0-688-12761-4 These brief episodes from a mother’s kitchen showcase Nolen’s enticing prose and her inclusive world. A young African-American girl narrates a handful of stories that broadcast harmony, affection, the timelessness of childhood, the memories of those no longer children, and a penchant for hope and good fortune. These are tales plucked from the everyday: her mother’s sisters gathering for their weekly gabfest and soup production (“Even the African violets are blooming, just like my aunts”), the wedding arranged for the cat and the doll, her father whipping up his inedible corn pudding (“Watching Daddy make the corn pudding is a lot better than actually eating it”), the blessings of cooking in Momma’s mother’s old stove, the announcement of her sister’s scholarship. Although these events could have filled out a short-story collection, Nolen keeps her narration trim, relaying the incidents in an eager, celebratory voice. Bootman fills his handsome illustrations with smiles all around; this is a happy place and no one will deny its obvious joy. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-12760-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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KEVIN AND HIS DAD

There is something profoundly elemental going on in Smalls’s book: the capturing of a moment of unmediated joy. It’s not melodramatic, but just a Saturday in which an African-American father and son immerse themselves in each other’s company when the woman of the house is away. Putting first things first, they tidy up the house, with an unheralded sense of purpose motivating their actions: “Then we clean, clean, clean the windows,/wipe, wipe, wash them right./My dad shines in the windows’ light.” When their work is done, they head for the park for some batting practice, then to the movies where the boy gets to choose between films. After a snack, they work their way homeward, racing each other, doing a dance step or two, then “Dad takes my hand and slows down./I understand, and we slow down./It’s a long, long walk./We have a quiet talk and smile.” Smalls treats the material without pretense, leaving it guileless and thus accessible to readers. Hays’s artwork is wistful and idyllic, just as this day is for one small boy. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-79899-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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WAITING FOR BABY

One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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