An all-around wonderful book that will inspire laughter and perhaps even a little dancing.

THE ELECTRIC SLIDE AND KAI

Kai lacks rhythm and, therefore, a dance nickname.

When Auntie Nina announces that she’s getting married, Kai gets to work practicing his dance moves in hopes of earning that nickname. In their African American family, Granddad gives everyone a nickname based on their electric slide dance moves. Baby sister Ava is dubbed “Baby Bounce,” big sister Myla is “Miss Boogie,” and older brother D.J. is “D.J. Groove,” but Kai has yet to receive his. He is haunted by the memory of the time he couldn’t figure out the dance moves and knocked over his little cousin. Determined to earn his nickname, Kai turns to his family for help, which they kindly provide. Despite this help, his desperation, and weeks of practice, when the big moment finally arrives, Kai slips away from the reception. What Kai doesn’t know is that his new uncle Troy is also looking forward to his dance nickname, and he convinces Kai to return to the reception, where they will earn those new nicknames together. Kai’s efforts to learn the electric slide are hilarious, making this story as much fun as the dance. The illustrations capture Kai in various states of confusion and dizziness and are sure to get giggles from readers. The underlying messages of familial closeness and perseverance serve as a foundation for the humor of the story and recall Kelly Starling Lyons and Daniel Minter’s Going Down Home With Daddy (2019).

An all-around wonderful book that will inspire laughter and perhaps even a little dancing. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64379-052-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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