I DIG

From the I Like To Read series

A beach book for new readers.

The front-cover art shows a brown-haired boy with peachy skin and dark eyes gazing at readers while holding a shovel. He’s up to his armpits in a hole in the sand while a dog and a crab dig in the background. The back cover depicts the same boy in red-and-green swimming trunks looking at the sea beside another, bigger boy who shares his coloring but wears blue trunks. The two seem like brothers, and the older boy smiles encouragingly when the younger one says, “Look” on three successive pages as a shovel is borne into shore on the crest of a big wave. “I dig,” says the little boy on the next page, and he tunnels into the sand, finding: seashells (depicted in the art but not named in the appropriately controlled text); “a crab”; and “stars” (starfish in a watery pool that appears in the tunnel); and then “a dog,” which he follows “up” again to the beach’s sandy surface, where his brother awaits. The tunneling brings a touch of fantasy to the story, and whimsy arrives with the night’s sky and more “stars” spied by the boys—this time twinkling above. Both starry moments, as well as the energetic line that characterizes Cepeda’s technique in rendering backgrounds and figures alike, lend vitality to this simple story.

Kids will dig it. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3975-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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