The book’s belief in literacy simply shines through and will appeal to families in search of an attractively illustrated...

MOUSIE, I WILL READ TO YOU

Follow along as a little mouse is taught to love literacy.

Opening on a tiny mouse upon a parent’s lap, snoozing as the parent reads, the book shows how the inquisitive rodent grows into an independent reader “With a flashlight in your room / Reading a chapter book,” then an absorbed college student, and finally the parent of his own little book lover, creating a sentimental ode to lifelong literacy. Hidden within the sweeping, flowery language are step-by-step directions for encouraging emergent literacy: building receptive and expressive language skills with rich vocabulary; modeling complex sentences; regularly sharing songs, stories, and poetry; curating print-rich environments; and utilizing local libraries. It’s a comprehensive list, and grown-ups may appreciate the helpful coaching, especially the “tips for raising readers” appendix. Preschool children, however, may not be entranced by the lengthy free-verse poetry, high-level vocabulary and aspirational direct address of the wise adult guiding a child. If the earnest text is a little message-heavy, the vintage-style digital illustrations help make the medicine go down. Stylishly rendered in dappled, desaturated colors and with oversized ears and lengthy curled tails, the mice are a blend of sophisticated and sweet. Chunky scarves, retro toys, warm domestic scenes and lively playground action bring the mouse’s world to life.

The book’s belief in literacy simply shines through and will appeal to families in search of an attractively illustrated parenting manual. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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