Imaginative, irreverent, improvisational fun in kindergarten: Danbi shares a burst of “sweet rain,” complete with a rainbow.

DANBI LEADS THE SCHOOL PARADE

All together now: Food, dance, and music combine for magic that transcends language barriers.

The charming cover of this read-aloud captures the Korean protagonist in a commanding pose, balanced on tiptoes, ready to perform. Still, Danbi feels anxious: “On the first day of my new school in America, my heart beat: Boom. Boom.” Her palpable turmoil builds as she tries unfamiliar activities, yet, by lunchtime, her nervous heartbeat evolves into drum rolls cueing Danbi’s creative impulses. Her classmates’ singular reaction to her traditional Korean lunch—“Wow!”—signals the transformative powers of Danbi’s favorite foods, exquisitely presented in tiered containers: “Yams in honey, crystal dumplings…rainbow drops, and half-moon rice cakes dipped in sweet sesame!” Classmates’ attempts to use chopsticks become comical antics; soon, Danbi is leading everyone through recess in spontaneous, triumphant pageantry. Enchanting illustrations dazzle—particularly through the diverse characters’ hair and facial expressions that detail individuals’ unique traits while celebrating the entire cohort. According to the author’s note, the story is inspired by the creator’s own “bicultural identity,” and the endpapers encapsulate an immigrant child’s journey: the poignant departure and the prosaic pleasures of new friends will resonate with readers of all ages.

Imaginative, irreverent, improvisational fun in kindergarten: Danbi shares a burst of “sweet rain,” complete with a rainbow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-451-47889-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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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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Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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