The book’s simplicity guarantees achievement for beginning readers.

I SEE

From the I Like To Read series

Two kids, probably siblings, explore their surrounding world through magnification.

While the older one remains inside with a microscope, the younger prefers the outside, examining all with a large hand-held magnifying glass. “I see,” the kid declares, focusing on several insects and animals while peering through the glass. A large, blue-black ant grins up through the glass as the child states, “I see an ant.” A butterfly, a snail, and robins’ eggs similarly appear through the glass, all narrated in the short, patterned text. Arriving home with discoveries crawling and flapping behind, the explorer now declares, “We see,” to the older child. The minimalist text is perfect for emerging readers, allowing children the ability to successfully read a whole book. Each repetitive sentence with its additional new word is coupled with recognizable picture cues to help in decoding. Cepeda’s characteristically energetic artwork offers sharp-edged, jagged lines that give it a scratch-art look. The siblings are dressed nearly identically, in blue shorts and red polo shirts, and they have tousled brown hair, beige skin, and big smiles.

The book’s simplicity guarantees achievement for beginning readers. (Picture book/early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4504-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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