Nesting Dolls

Listening Library. Oct. 2023. 6p. $5. ISBN 9780593746141.
K-Gr 2–Brantley-Newton’s delightful story is clearly meant as a read-along: both the print and audio prove equally important for gratifying enjoyment. The back matter features her own family photographs, which need to be viewed to understand who’s who. Hearing Brantley-Newton’s voice is a must to fully appreciate how her Gullah Geechee people featured here speak in a melodic combination of Creole, African, and European languages. Brantley-Newton energetically self-narrates (her fourth as reader), ensuring a mellifluous experience discovering Anyiaka’s extended family is “so beautiful and so smart.” Anyiaka doesn’t think she looks like her mother, and she’s convinced she can’t be helpful in the kitchen. Anyiaka worries she “stick[s] out like a sore thumb” until Grandma shows how they all fit wholly together just like nesting dolls.
VERDICT Libraries considering one format should invest in all formats to entice and engage young readers.

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