The hunt for the perfect abode is the premise for this romp through the world of nursery rhymes. The little old woman and her many children are definitely feeling the pinch in the toe of the shoe they live in. From Little Jack Horner’s coat and Miss Muffet’s teacup, to a sock hanging from a grandfather clock and a tub, the family attempts to find a home that will accommodate their number—a place that is stationary, not too loud, not too small, and not already occupied. As they quickly discover, this is not too easy to find in Mother Goose’s world. Old Mother Hubbard snatches their glass jar and puts it in her cupboard, and the demise of an egg brings all the king’s horses and men to one of their trial homes. Finally, as the family is literally squeezed out of a vest pocket and shot into a boot, they realize that their old home was more spacious than this one. “If the shoe fits, then wear it.” So, “She gave them some broth and kissed all their faces, / Then tucked them in bed and tied up the laces.” Jackson (I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, not reviewed, etc.) retains the rhyming pattern of The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe throughout the family’s adventures, providing stability to their leaps around the various tales. Young readers will delight in identifying the many different nursery rhymes, and the author/illustrator team has given just enough clues for them to be able to do this with ease. Firehammer’s (The Flea’s Sneeze, 2000) characters have charmingly simple faces, round cheeks, and stubby bodies. Pastel colors and barely hidden details fit the realm of nursery rhyme books perfectly. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6466-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001


As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021


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

Close Quickview