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Informative and reassuring.

A child faces big changes when Mama is diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer, Mama says, is a “big sick.” But she might be better in a year if she listens to her doctor, and then she’ll get to ring a bell to celebrate her last day of chemotherapy. The young narrator relates how Mama receives chemo through a port, loses her hair, and experiences fatigue. Mama explains that cancer isn’t contagious and is nobody’s fault. Sometimes it’s hard; Mama’s port makes cuddling difficult, and she’s too tired to play much. But the family’s love shines through as Pink’s cozy cartoon illustrations mark the passing year, including their Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Hanukkah celebrations. Mama and the narrator still snuggle, have a picnic, and, with Daddy’s assistance, observe Kindness Day (a day devoted to helping others). Finally, it’s Mama’s last day of chemo! Kids aren’t allowed in the hospital, but the narrator rings in the joyful moment with Mama via video call. Though readers in similar circumstances may not share the narrator’s abundant support system, including two parents, various friends and relatives, and a counselor, the simple matter-of-fact text and warm illustrations are comforting. An author’s note reveals that the story is based on co-author Vincent’s experience of explaining her breast cancer to her daughter and includes further advice for adults. The family is Jewish and light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Informative and reassuring. (author’s note from Churnin, resources, further reading) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780807580790

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2023

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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