A SWEET PASSOVER

A week of eating matzah has one little girl ready to swear off the bland, unleavened cracker for good, until a sweet, time-honored staple slowly changes her mind.

Miriam observes Passover with parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle each consecutive day with different foods added to her matzah. She happily eats her unleavened bread with butter, jelly, tuna salad, egg salad, cream cheese, cottage cheese, almond and apple butter and jam. But after eating plain matzah, egg matzah, whole-wheat matzah and chocolate-covered matzah, Miriam awakens on the eighth day of the holiday completely “sick, sick, sick of matzah” and refuses to eat another bite. Perplexed and amused, Grandpa entices Miriam with the prospect of a breakfast of Passover French toast, otherwise known as matzah brei, a pancake-type creation from pieces of matzah soaked in egg and milk, pan-fried in butter and topped with sugar, cinnamon or maple syrup. Large amiable cartoon characters drawn in acrylic and charcoal portray a loving and cheerful family. They recount the Passover saga through Newman’s dialogue-driven text, into which she subtly weaves some interpretive messages for today. “Matzah goes with everything,” says Grandpa. “And that reminds us that we should get along with everyone, too.” Convinced Miriam completes the holiday with the sweetened meal she cooked with her culinary savvy Grandpa.

Deliciously traditional. (recipe, author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9737-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child.

ALWAYS WITH YOU, ALWAYS WITH ME

Grammy-winning, multiplatinum singer/songwriter Rowland teams up with California teacher McKay to celebrate busy moms.

This picture book highlights a mother’s frequent longing to be with her child when life’s demands pull them apart. The story takes us through a busy Black mom’s week: She goes to work (at a construction site where she appears to be an engineer), works from home on her son’s sick day, takes him to a museum, and shares domestic duties with her Black male partner, who is a nurse. She encounters many bumps in the road that will be familiar to working parents. Each day, she gently reassures her son with a lyrical refrain: “Always with you, / Always with me, / Mommy and child / Together we’ll be.” This tender story, narrated in the voice of a mother addressing her child, pulls at the heartstrings. Liem’s digital artwork uses a warm palette and has a calming quality. The characters’ body language and heartfelt facial expressions are spot-on. This book will resonate with any mom who knows the heartache of having to say goodbye to their child or who has faced the teary-eyed frustration of a youngster experiencing separation anxiety. Young readers, on the other hand, will find solace in the reassuring narrative. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46551-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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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