A tool to spur kindness conversations rather than a satisfying read unto itself.

Inspiration for acts of kindness, with illustrations from several artists.

The text, uncredited to a single author, uses direct address to draw readers into its central message. The first four spreads read: “Are you kind? / Do you wait your turn? / Will you help someone younger… /…or older?” Each brief line is illustrated by a different artist, with credits for the art in a table of contents. Some art is original to this book, while other illustrations have been taken from other picture books from this publisher. The result is akin to an exhibit book rather than a cohesive, illustrated narrative, and some pairings of art and text are more successful than others. The opening question is juxtaposed to a painting of three smiling children who appear black, Asian, and white and look out at readers with their hands open. This physical enactment of kindness is rather opaque compared to the next spread, which shows a child going down a slide while others await a turn. While many spreads include diverse human subjects, others, such as one reading “Do you say please and thank you? It’s easy, you know,” are illustrated with anthropomorphic animals, which might help lighten the text’s unabashed heavy-handedness. In a meta act of kindness, royalties from the proceeds from the book will support nonprofit group Think Kindness.

A tool to spur kindness conversations rather than a satisfying read unto itself. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77278-050-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018


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


From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

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 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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