An upbeat read-aloud that encourages young readers in their quests to discover the world.

STEP BY STEP

A day in the life of a child ready to take on the world—one step at a time.

A child and their dad (both have beige skin and straight, black hair) begin the day with reminders of what the child has already accomplished in life: walking, talking, growing, and learning. There’s more to do, but the child needn’t fear. Each new challenge is to be tackled step by step, one by one. This becomes the refrain for the bouncy rhyming text that carries the characters through their day—getting dressed, piece by piece; crossing the street, stride by stride; making friends, smile by smile; building a miles-high tower, block by block. This cheery mantra reassures the child and allows them to approach new experiences and tasks with confidence—helpful for child readers who, at times, might be anxious. Stanzas tumble along at a spirited pace and brim with positivity, paired with bright, pastel-colored, line-and-color illustrations that infuse the storytelling experience with humorous, eye-catching details. The child’s classmates represent a diverse cast of characters in terms of perceived gender and skin color, and one child uses a wheelchair. For children uncertain about starting school or having new social experiences following the pandemic, this story’s ebullience is bound to bring a smile and a phrase to repeat: “Step by step, one by one.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An upbeat read-aloud that encourages young readers in their quests to discover the world. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-7994-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Aspirational—but not quite ascending to the inspirational.

MY VOICE IS A TRUMPET

Explores different ways one’s voice can be used.

The unidentified narrator begins by chronicling different types of voices: “loud and proud,” “soft and sweet,” “patient and wise,” and more. The Deaf community is included in both text and art, and sign language is alluded to: “There’s a voice that is silent / but STILL CAN BE HEARD / with hands that move / to speak EVERY word.” The vibrant, colorful art presents an array of children of different races and skin tones. Unfortunately, this well-meaning book does not cohere. The art in some spreads does not appear to augment or even connect to the text. For example, the lines “I’LL SAY NO TO HATE / by using this voice / and ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE— / a magical choice” are illustrated with a spread of four children: one playing the trumpet, another singing, one with a drum major’s hat and baton, and the final child skateboarding. Readers may be confused by how these images apply to the text since they have no direct relation to saying no to hate or choosing love. Spreads with children holding protest signs feel disconnected to the present moment with no Black Lives Matter or BLM–related signs depicted. Some text excludes nonbinary children, asserting “we’re SISTERS / and BROTHERS.”

Aspirational—but not quite ascending to the inspirational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-35218-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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