This culturally relevant, STEM-savvy picture book showcases a strong female protagonist.

BRACELETS FOR BINA'S BROTHERS

From the Storytelling Math series

It’s the Hindu holiday Raksha Bandhan, when sisters give brothers bracelets to ask for their protection from harm.

This year, Bina is old enough to make bracelets for her three older brothers: Vijay, Siddharth, and Arjun. To prepare, she asks each brother about their favorite and least favorite colors. At the craft store, Bina and her mother pick out blue, orange, and green beads along with some special beads that represent each of the brother’s interests: a book, a basketball, and a pair of musical notes. When they return from the store, and with the help of her dog, Tara, Bina gets to work. For each bracelet, she creates a pattern using the colors that each brother likes—something that can be confusing to remember and results in a few do-overs. Eventually, Bina creates three different bracelets using three different color patterns, each one perfect for her brothers. On Raksha Bandhan, Bina’s gifts are a hit—and so is the gift that the brothers give Bina, even if it doesn’t necessarily follow a pattern. Basing a plot on Raksha Bandhan, which has come under criticism for its gendered emphasis on girls’ needing protection from boys, feels like a strange way to introduce a spunky female protagonist like Bina. Still, the text does seamlessly integrate the mathematical concept of patterning into a fun and accurate modern twist on an ancient religious tradition. The colorful illustrations perfectly capture Bina’s impish spirit as well as her love for her family. An author’s note expands on both Raksha Bandhan and patterns.

This culturally relevant, STEM-savvy picture book showcases a strong female protagonist. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-129-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration.

I LOVE DADDY EVERY DAY

Children point out the things they love about their fathers.

“Daddy is always kind. He gives us support and shelter when things go wrong.” A child with a skinned knee (and downed ice cream cone) gets a bandage and loving pat from Daddy (no shelter is visible, but the child’s concerned sibling sweetly extends their own cone). Daddy’s a storyteller, a magician, supportive, loyal, silly, patient, and he knows everything. A die-cut hole pierces most pages, positioned so that the increasingly smaller holes to come can be seen through it; what it represents in each scene varies, and it does so with also-variable success. The bland, nonrhyming, inconsistent text does little to attract or keep attention, though the die cuts might (until they fall victim to curious fingers). The text also confusingly mixes first-person singular and plural, sometimes on the same page: “Daddy is like a gardener. He lovingly cares for us and watches us grow. I’m his pride and joy!” Even as the text mixes number the illustrations mix metaphors. This particular gardener daddy is pictured shampooing a child during bathtime. Más’ cartoon illustrations are sweet if murkily interpretive, affection clearly conveyed. Troublingly, though, each father and his child(ren) seem to share the same racial presentation and hair color (sometimes even hairstyle!), shutting out many different family constellations. Más does, however, portray several disabilities: children and adults wearing glasses, a child with a cochlear implant, and another using a wheelchair.

Skip this well-meaning but poorly executed celebration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12305-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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