A cheerful story about a spirited girl who saves the day. What could be better than that?

TIARA'S HAT PARADE

Tiara enjoys the laughter and warmth in her mother’s millinery shop, but when a store with lower-priced hats comes to town, Tiara must find a way to help her mother get her spark—and her customers—back.

“We can’t eat dreams,” Momma tells Daddy and Tiara as they pack up the hat studio and her hopes. Because she can no longer sell hats, Momma accepts a job as an art teacher at Tiara’s school, Height Elementary (a nod, perhaps, to activist Dorothy I. Height, renowned for her hats). Tiara encourages her mother to begin making hats again, but Momma is not ready to talk about or work with hats. One Friday afternoon, in an art class, however, Tiara and the other children convince Momma to allow them to make hats. When Momma helps Tiara’s friend Matti adjust hers, Tiara has an idea that just might remind Momma of the passion she had for hat-making and the joy her hats brought to so many. With this touching tale of tradition and can-do spirit, Lyons interweaves an important element of the African American experience into a well-told story. Tadgell’s illustrations are mostly pastels with punches of bright color, especially on the hats, and have a pleasant dreamlike quality.The author’s note provides background on the African American hat tradition, including a mention of Crowns, by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry (2000).  

A cheerful story about a spirited girl who saves the day. What could be better than that? (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7945-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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