DANCING WITH DADDY

A heartwarming portrayal of a family embracing disability.

A nonverbal girl who uses a wheelchair anticipates a father-daughter dance in Schulte’s debut.

As Elsie and her mother shop for the perfect dress, Elsie ponders: Pink or red? Red matches Daddy’s soccer jersey—a red dress it is! Her supportive sisters are thrilled for her, too. But it’s snowing harder and harder. What if the dance is canceled? Refreshingly, Elsie’s disability is seamlessly presented as simply another aspect of family life; for instance, as Elsie’s sisters slurp up noodles with chopsticks, Daddy matter-of-factly gives Elsie a “push” of liquid food through a feeding tube. Pops of rhyme or alliteration add pep to the straightforward text: “Inside, daughters dashed. Ponytails bounced. Dresses flounced.” Inspired by the author’s daughter, who has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, Elsie is delightfully expressive. Elsie’s italicized thoughts convey her worry and excitement; she “can’t wait to see [her] dress spin.” Her face, bearing characteristic features of the disorder, radiates emotion. She frowns forlornly at fat snowflakes and beams with infectious joy as her sisters help her “[find] her groove.” Whether she’s pointing to pictures in her communication book or anxiously indicating her missing hair bow, her family is warmly attentive. As she swings and sways in her father’s arms, her forehead against his, their love is palpable; Chen’s illustrations fairly glow with affection. Elsie and her family are cued as East Asian.

A heartwarming portrayal of a family embracing disability. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0719-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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

THE BIG CHEESE

From the Food Group series

From curds to riches, from meltdown to uplift—this multicourse romp delivers.

A winning wheel of cheddar with braggadocio to match narrates a tale of comeuppance and redemption.

From humble beginnings among kitchen curds living “quiet lives of pasteurization,” the Big Cheese longs to be the best and builds success and renown based on proven skills and dependable results: “I stuck to the things I was good at.” When newcomer Wedge moves to the village of Curds-on-Whey, the Cheese’s star status wobbles and falls. Turns out that quiet, modest Wedge is also multitalented. At the annual Cheese-cathlon, Wedge bests six-time winner Cheese in every event, from the footrace and chess to hat making and bread buttering. A disappointed Cheese throws a full-blown tantrum before arriving at a moment of truth: Self-calming, conscious breathing permits deep relief that losing—even badly—does not result in disaster. A debrief with Wedge “that wasn’t all about me” leads to further realizations: Losing builds empathy for others; obsession with winning obscures “the joy of participating.” The chastened cheddar learns to reserve bragging for lifting up friends, because anyone can be the Big Cheese. More didactic and less pun-rich than previous entries in the Food Group series, this outing nevertheless couples a cheerful refrain with pithy life lessons that hit home. Oswald’s detailed, comical illustrations continue to provide laughs, including a spot with Cheese onstage doing a “CHED” talk.

From curds to riches, from meltdown to uplift—this multicourse romp delivers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063329508

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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