The far north has never felt so deliciously warm.

IN MY ANAANA'S AMAUTIK

The narrator, an Inuit toddler, enjoys being tucked in the hood of Anaana’s parka.

In the far north, many women wear parkas that have a hood, or amautik, that also serves as a baby carrier to keep their offspring warm. One toddler, the narrator of the story, explains how being carried this way “feels like being wrapped up in soft clouds.” While tucked inside the amautik, the child inhales Anaana’s calming scent, like “flowers in the summertime.” The narrator thinks of the hood as a tiny iglu, or snow house, that provides cozy protection. The sound of Anaana’s laughter comforts the child, but most of all, the child feels Anaana’s love. Each spread appeals to a different sense, creating a deliciously cozy and nurturing microenvironment for this lucky tot. Inuit author and educator Sammurtok brings her work preserving Inuktitut to the text, with a spare sprinkling of vocabulary (defined in a closing glossary). The repetition of “In my anaana’s amautik” at the beginning of each short paragraph is both lulling and reinforcing of the relationship between child and mother. Canadian illustrator Lishchenko’s use of textures and subtle colors blends well with the strong, simple text. Delicate pastels give the Arctic landscape a welcoming beauty, and fanciful depictions of the similes the narrator suggests lend a playful air.

The far north has never felt so deliciously warm. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77227-252-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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RED WAGON

A mundane task fills with delicious thrills. 

Lucy asks permission to play with her new red wagon, so mom agreeably sends her to market with it—but, hmm, “That sounded like a chore. Lucy didn’t want to do chores.” Never fear; this journey is anything but dull. Adroitly pairing innocently understated prose with pictures of simple but imaginative adventures, Liwska invites readers to giggle at Lucy’s impressive escapades that unfold entirely visually. When the rainy countryside becomes a roaring ocean, the wagon’s a sailboat riding cresting waves. The wagon also becomes a rocket ship, a train, a construction-site truck and a covered wagon. At the carnival/circus (market), “Lucy neatly loaded the wagon with vegetables from her list”—by juggling them with help from a trapeze flyer. The illustrator’s pencil work is nimble, her backgrounds airy and free, with hatched grasses for these child animals—cousins of her characters in Deborah Underwood’s Quiet Book (2010)—to romp in. The colors glow softly. Red wagon’s last role? The perfect nap-spot for a girl all played out. 

A winner. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25237-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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