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SEVEN SPECIAL SOMETHINGS

A NOWRUZ STORY

Welcome this new, modern celebration of an underrepresented holiday.

When his cat overturns the carefully set haft-seen table, Kian sets out to re-create one that represents his family.

It’s the first day of spring and the Persian holiday of Nowruz. Kian helps Maman and Baba cook and clean all day, and Baba goes to the airport to pick up the grandparents who will join them for the holiday. The traditional haft-seen table has been set with the seven special items beginning with S, each representing good things to come in the new year. Kian wonders why there are only seven symbols on the haft-seen table. If he can find more items for the table, will that make them even happier in the new year? He tries putting Sonny the cat on the table, but Sonny knocks everything over, ruining it all. Now Kian has to find seven new S’s for the haft-seen table. What special items will he choose? This charming picture book introduces the traditional symbols and practices of Nowruz but focuses on the heart of the holiday’s meaning in terms children can easily understand. Khorram, an award-winning author of young adult novels, creates a fun-loving protagonist and an easygoing family unit readers will warm to. Faidhi’s background in animation shines in these cartoon-style illustrations full of action and movement. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 61% of actual size.)

Welcome this new, modern celebration of an underrepresented holiday. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-10826-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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HOW TO CATCH A MAMASAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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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