A tender story of friendship and change.

EVELYN DEL REY IS MOVING AWAY

Daniela’s “número uno best friend,” Evelyn Del Rey, is moving away. But today, for one last time, they’ll play. Just like they always do.

Daniela and Evelyn are two Latinx girls who live across the street from each other in apartments that are almost identical. One has a bedroom with “sunny yellow” walls and lives with both her parents and a cat; the other has a bedroom with “cotton candy” pink walls and lives with her mother and a hamster. But they “are mostly the same, just like [their] apartments. But not after today.” As the grown-ups pack and the moving truck is loaded, the girls enjoy one last day together. When the time comes to say goodbye, plans are made and big hugs are given. The ending hints at a friendship that lasts into future years, but the beauty of the book lies in the sheer pleasure and exhilaration exhibited by the girls as they enjoy the present moment. Newbery Medalist Medina’s versatility is in evidence here, showing she’s as much in tune with the picture-book audience as she is with older readers. With lines that go at angles and splashes of bold colors and patterns, Sánchez’s artwork is as lively and full of movement as the two girls. Layered applications of color create texture, and the interiors of their apartments are cozily beckoning. Evelyn is depicted with brown skin and locs, and Daniela with pale skin and two puffy pigtails.

A tender story of friendship and change. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0704-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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