SOURPUSS AND SWEETIE PIE

The ingenuous little girl from the Caldecott Medal–winning The Hello, Goodbye Window (2005) is back, exploring the split personality that causes her loving grandparents to give her two very different names. She explains, “Poppy doesn’t like Sourpuss too much. Neither does Nanna. I mean they like her because she’s me, but not so much. Do you know what I mean?” Anyone who’s ever spent time with a young child will know exactly what she means, as will children themselves. Once again, Juster nails the inner life of a child, capturing perfectly the mercurial mood swings that can turn adorable into awful in the blink of an eye—and capturing also the child’s own bewilderment at the process. Raschka’s childlike, gorgeously smeary, textured images employ ever-so-subtle shifts in color and line—and not-so-subtle scowls—to chart the curly-haired moppet’s transitions from Sourpuss to Sweetie Pie and back, one fabulous double-page spread that fairly bristles with crankiness acting as a set of body-language studies in truculence. Readers will be as happy as Nanna and Poppy to welcome both of them back. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-439-92943-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Michael di Capua/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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A functional introduction to an important American holiday.

THE STORY OF JUNETEENTH

A look at the origins and significance of Juneteenth.

In a classroom scene, young Black children led by a Black teacher make red, black, and green popsicle-stick flags as the text introduces Juneteenth as “a special day of freedom.” In a street parade, people in Afrocentric attire carry red, black, and green flags as the first-person plural narrator describes Juneteenth as a day to remember “when the last enslaved Africans in the United States became free.” Subsequent spreads pithily cover the history of slavery, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation declaring enslaved people free as of Jan. 1, 1863, and the joy of the newly freed Africans. Readers learn that it took two more years for the news to reach the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, delivered to them by an Army contingent on June 19, the day that now marks the anniversary of Juneteenth. Assuming no prior knowledge on readers’ parts, this informative board book strings together facts about Juneteenth for readers unfamiliar with the holiday and its origins. The history is oversimplified and the prose is uninspired but well designed for independent reading. Bright, cartoonlike illustrations featuring Black and White characters with expressive faces support comprehension. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A functional introduction to an important American holiday. (Nonfiction board book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5460-0216-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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