BITTY BOT'S BIG BEACH GETAWAY

From the Bitty Bot series

Bitty Bot is back in this beachside companion to his previous, eponymous interstellar adventure (2016).

“At the beach in Botco Bay, / robots love to splash and play.” But not Bitty Bot—the little robot would rather skip the heat and sand and play back home in Robot City. Bitty’s not afraid of water (that’s what “rustproof robot oil” is for); it’s just that there’s no one to play with. Things start to look up when Bitty spots two other unhappy young bots, Clank and Smitty. Bitty mobilizes the pair—along with Bitty’s trusty robot-dog and a very amiable crab—to build a submarine for undersea exploration. On its maiden voyage the group sees stingrays, mermaids, giant squids….But when the sub springs a leak, will the quartet make it back to the surface? The cast of characters includes robots of different body types and colors. (Eyelashes suggest gender; none of the three child bots sport them, however.) Unlike the robots, the mermaids (buxom and purple) look mostly homogenous. The parent bots are eerily cheery, unfazed by their children’s exploits—possibly suggesting that the children’s travels were just make-believe. The rhyming couplets sustain a jaunty pace and playfulness that neatly match the almost-giddy art style. The warm color palette of the beach and the contrasting cool tones of the robots and underwater scenery make this a good choice for group sharing in storytime.

A delightful sea-quel. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4931-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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