An innovative, refreshing, out-of-this-world tale about the incredible versatility of afro hair.

STELLA'S STELLAR HAIR

An astronomically creative mix of science, fantasy, and African American culture.

Stella, a little African American girl, needs to prepare for the Big Star Little Gala, but her hair isn’t “acting right”: “It twisted and turned, zigged and zagged, made loopity-loops and lots of curly Q’s.” A huge, swirly mix of purples and pinks with squiggles of yellow and green, Stella’s hair often dominates the page and dwarfs the child. She asks Momma to help, but she sends her daughter instead to Aunt Ofelia on Mercury. Ofelia gives her a “poofy-smooth style”; on Venus, Auntie Alma creates a “royal lion’s mane”; Earth’s Aunt Rubi fashions her hair into an “elegant crown”; and so on. Stella proceeds throughout the galaxy and finally to the sun. At each stop, an aunt gives Stella a hairdo reflective of the aunt’s own style and personality, but none fits Stella. Once helpful advice from Auntie Solana on the sun helps Stella realize the key to happiness with her hair, Stella attends the gala, completely satisfied, along with all of her beautiful Black aunts, sporting their plethora of hairstyles. In Moises’ friendly cartoon images, the vibrant colors change with the location and the atmospheric conditions. The backmatter explains all the different aunts’ hairstyles by speculating what style would be best adapted to the environment of each locale, if humans could live there. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.5% of actual size.)

An innovative, refreshing, out-of-this-world tale about the incredible versatility of afro hair. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26177-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids.

SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET

A little girl’s imaginative plan to become an astronaut and be the first to travel to Mars really takes off.

Together with a crew of stuffed animals (owl, rabbit, and teddy bear), Sadie Sprocket does her research, gathers materials to build her spaceship, and, with support from family and friends—and media coverage—embarks on her historic journey. Rhyming quatrains tell the story of how Sadie patiently reads, cooks, and records important data during the 100-day interplanetary journey. And then: “The Earth behind, so far away, / was now a tiny dot. / Then Sadie cried, ‘There’s planet Mars! / It’s smaller than I thought!’ ” After landing and gathering 20 bags of samples, Sadie and crew are stuck in a red sandstorm while trying to take off again. But with Sadie’s determination and can-do spirit, they blast off, safely returning to Earth with future heroic space-exploration ideas in mind. Spiky cartoons transform a child’s playroom into an outer-space venue, complete with twinkling stars and colorful planets. Sadie presents White while her encouraging fans feature more diversity. An addendum includes brief facts about Mars and a handful of women space scientists. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Inspiring, adventurous fun for aspirational kids. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1803-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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