From the Bumble and Bee series , Vol. 1

Two bees show a frog that friendship is as sweet as honey.

In the first of three short chapters, Bumble (a bumblebee) and Bee (a honeybee) are absolutely thrilled it’s “Best Friends Picture Day.” But Froggy wishes they were somewhere else. Not even counting to three and saying “BEES!” elicits a smile as big as Bumble’s or Bee’s. Froggy just frowns. The insects devise a brilliant plan to turn Froggy’s frown upside down—literally. In the next chapter, Bumble and Bee show their compassionate sides and scare Froggy out of a bad case of the hiccups. The final chapter sees the bees showing off their “Waggle Dance” (an actual communication method among honeybees) while trying to get Froggy to follow along. With their quick pace and comic-book layout, the chapters function like miniature cartoon episodes. Burach’s well-structured, thick-outlined panels create a rhythm to each punchline—and the punny jokes just keep coming. The bees’ theatrics and infectious enthusiasm pitted against Froggy’s deadpan dryness place the trio on par with greats like Bob Shea’s Ballet Cat and Sparkles or Mo Willems’ Piggie and Gerald. The stories are told almost entirely in dialogue; color-coded speech bubbles (yellow for Bee, green for Froggy, and orange for Bumble) max out at three per panel. The bright colors, expressive characters, and attention to detail will attract multiple reads. Readers will eagerly await the future planned books in the series.

Buzz-worthy. (Graphic early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-50492-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A shining affirmation of Chinese American identity.


An immigrant couple’s empowering love letter to their child.

Baby Mei rests in her parents’ embrace, flanked by Chinese architecture on one side and the New York skyline on the other. She will be a bridge across the “oceans and worlds and cultures” that separate her parents from their homeland, China. Mei—a Chinese word which means beautiful—shares a name with her family’s new home: Měi Guó (America). Her parents acknowledge the hypocrisy of xenophobia: “It’s a strange world we live in—people will call you different with one breath and then say that we all look the same with the next angry breath.” Mei will have the responsibility of being “teacher and translator” to her parents. They might not be able to completely shield her from racism, othering, and the pressures of assimilation, but they can reassure and empower her—and they do. Mei and young readers are encouraged to rely on the “golden flame” of strength, power, and hope they carry within them. The second-person narration adds intimacy to the lyrical text. Diao’s lovely digital artwork works in tandem with Chen’s rich textual imagery to celebrate Chinese culture, family history, and language. The illustrations incorporate touchstones of Chinese mythology and art—a majestic dragon, a phoenix, and lotus flowers—as well as family photographs. One double-page spread depicts a lineup of notable Chinese Americans. In the backmatter, Chen and Diao relay their own family stories of immigration. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A shining affirmation of Chinese American identity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-84205-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.


Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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