Simple, snowy fun with a vocabulary-building boost.

BUS STOP

A school day turns into a surprise.

Early in the morning, as a group of diverse children gather to wait for their school bus, a small scattering of snowflakes begin to fall. The children, who arrive in alphabetical order by name, each have a different morning preoccupation: “Beatrice burrows” (in a book). “Carlos catches” (snowflakes). “Divya drifts” (back to sleep). Although the alliteration doesn’t continue throughout the book, each new child’s activity offers room for educators and caregivers to pause for discussion. “Hannah stomps. Isaiah romps” is an ideal place to ponder the difference between a stomp and a romp. The sentences are brief, but they pack a powerful punch when it comes to vocabulary-building. Many of the children are reproduced in a double-page final spread that allows readers to play a seek-and-find game as the characters romp through a now-snowy scene. Backgrounds have the appearance of a child’s drawing, with buildings that look as though they were scrawled in black marker. Together, the text and illustrations create an energetic and idealized urban landscape that readers would love to visit, especially when the reason why the bus isn’t showing up is revealed: It’s a snow day! Young fans of Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day (1962) will find this an enjoyable companion book, and this title will likely see heavy rotation in libraries during the colder months of the year. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Simple, snowy fun with a vocabulary-building boost. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: tomorrow

ISBN: 978-1-951836-47-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron Kids

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses...

BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, STRONG LITTLE ME!

This tan-skinned, freckle-faced narrator extols her own virtues while describing the challenges of being of mixed race.

Protagonist Lilly appears on the cover, and her voluminous curly, twirly hair fills the image. Throughout the rhyming narrative, accompanied by cartoonish digital illustrations, Lilly brags on her dark skin (that isn’t very), “frizzy, wild” hair, eyebrows, intellect, and more. Her five friends present black, Asian, white (one blonde, one redheaded), and brown (this last uses a wheelchair). This array smacks of tokenism, since the protagonist focuses only on self-promotion, leaving no room for the friends’ character development. Lilly describes how hurtful racial microaggressions can be by recalling questions others ask her like “What are you?” She remains resilient and says that even though her skin and hair make her different, “the way that I look / Is not all I’m about.” But she spends so much time talking about her appearance that this may be hard for readers to believe. The rhyming verse that conveys her self-celebration is often clumsy and forced, resulting in a poorly written, plotless story for which the internal illustrations fall far short of the quality of the cover image.

Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses the mark on both counts. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63233-170-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eifrig

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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THE LAST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Loewen’s story is a simple snapshot of kindergarten graduation day, and it stays true to form, with Yoshikawa’s artwork resembling photos that might be placed in an album—and the illustrations cheer, a mixed media of saturated color, remarkable depth and joyful expression. The author comfortably captures the hesitations of making the jump from kindergarten to first grade without making a fuss about it, and she makes the prospect something worth the effort. Trepidation aside, this is a reminder of how much fun kindergarten was: your own cubbyhole, the Halloween parade, losing a tooth, “the last time we’ll ever sit criss-cross applesauce together.” But there is also the fledgling’s pleasure at shucking off the past—swabbing the desks, tossing out the stubbiest crayons, taking the pictures off the wall—and surging into the future. Then there is graduation itself: donning the mortarboards, trooping into the auditorium—“Mr. Meyer starts playing a serious song on the piano. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to march”—which will likely have a few adult readers feeling the same. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5807-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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