This hardworking early reader is definitely worth checking out.

WHERE IS MOMMY?

From the I Like To Read series

Waking from a nap, a child is shocked to find that Mommy, who had been cuddled with the child on the couch, is missing and sets off with orange tabby Max to try and find her.

The child picks up clues such as Mommy’s slippers, reading glasses, and scarf during the search. While Max finds Mommy right away, it takes the puzzled child a little longer. Readers will likely find Mommy as quickly as Max does, making them feel like they are in on a secret. A part of the appeal of this early reader geared toward rising first graders is that children are likely to relate to that sense of panic and concern the child experiences upon noticing that Mommy is gone—and the sense of relief when Mommy is finally found. The illustrations are crisp, page-filling, and colorful, and both the protagonist and Max have expressive faces. The use of white space makes the large, sans-serif type easy to follow and read. The text is patterned, aiding decoding: “Here are her slippers. / Here are her glasses.” Additionally, there are many different visual patterns incorporated into the illustrations, like stripes, polka dots, and checks, which readers can identify after the story to help reinforce early math skills. The same can be said for the many animals, colors, and shapes throughout the book as well. Mommy and child both present black.

This hardworking early reader is definitely worth checking out. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3935-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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 bit message-heavy and twee, but feline fans will show up.

SUPER SPINACH

From the Adventures in Fosterland series

Spinach wants to fit in with the other kittens (and secretly dreams of being a superkitty).

Because of a malformed chest, Spinach can’t play like the other kittens in the shelter. She longs for a blue card on her kennel, which means a cat is bound for Foreverland. Instead, she’s whisked away to a strange room full of humans in white coats, where she learns that she has a condition called pectus excavatum. When she awakens after an operation, she finds a plate on her chest and believes it gives her superpowers. She’s moved to Fosterland, where she meets another kitten called Chickpea, who looks up to Spinach. The duo escape their enclosure, avoid a giant human, and discover a group of kittens trapped in a strange machine. Can they rescue the kittens? And what happens when Spinach’s chest plate vanishes? The second in cat rescuer and internet personality Shaw’s series is mostly unconnected to the first. The cats use words and concepts they could not have encountered in their lives while misunderstanding others for effect and plot (Spinach knows what a lasso and ice cubes are but thinks that a cat carrier is a hovercraft). The can-do message is repeated to the point of didacticism. Experienced chapter readers may be put off. Upping the sweetness quotient, Johnson’s adorable, black-and-white full-page and spot illustrations are a plus.

A bit message-heavy and twee, but feline fans will show up. (information about the real Spinach and Chickpea) (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66590-125-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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