The kimonos in this title are shown on “creative” (non-traditional) Kokeshi that have evolved from their origins as stickers...

KIMONOS

Kokeshi, northern Japanese wooden folk dolls, are painted with differently designed kimonos that denote the area in which they are made and form the inspiration for this pretty novelty.

The kimonos in this title are shown on “creative” (non-traditional) Kokeshi that have evolved from their origins as stickers in France. (Their images are also produced on notecards and journals.) A stilted text, translated from French, accompanies these commercialized, cartoon-like images. The glossy, heavy stock, saturated with a sophisticated palette of black, brown, maroon, bluish-gray and green, teems with kawaii kokeshi— “super cute little wooden dolls”—who talk and act like contemporary little girls. Readers are invited to find the right sash, fan and hair bow to match Kimiyo’s outfit. They locate Yumi’s apartment by lifting the flap that matches her sash. A large gate-fold page reveals Yumi’s family members and another game that involves matching designs to determine her maternal and paternal families. A schoolroom scene shows the days of the week, both in transliteration and in Japanese characters. There are more words to learn when a star (hoshi), a rabbit (usagi) and a pair of socks (tabi), among other objects, serve as inspiration for funny hairstyles that appear when a die-cut page turns.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0493-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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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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Fun, fun, fun all through the town!

THE HIPS ON THE DRAG QUEEN GO SWISH, SWISH, SWISH

This book’s gonna werk, werk, werk all through Pride Month and beyond.

Drag persona Lil Miss Hot Mess rewrites “The Wheels on the Bus” to create a fun, movement-filled, family-friendly celebration of drag. The text opens with the titular verse to establish the familiar song’s formulaic pattern: “The hips on the drag queen go SWISH, SWISH, SWISH… / ALL THROUGH THE TOWN!” Along the way, more and more drag queens join in the celebration. The unnamed queens proudly display a range of skin tones, sizes, and body modifications to create a diverse cast of realistic characters that could easily be spotted at a Pride event or on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The palette of both costumes and backgrounds is appropriately psychedelic, and there are plenty of jewels going “BLING, BLING, BLING.” Don’t tell the queens, but the flow is the book’s real star, because it encourages natural kinetic participation that will have groups of young readers giggling and miming along with the story. Libraries and bookshops hosting drag-queen storytimes will find this a popular choice, and those celebrating LGBTQ+ heritage will also find this a useful book for the pre-K crowd. Curious children unfamiliar with a drag queen may require a brief explanation, but the spectacle stands up just fine on its own platforms.

Fun, fun, fun all through the town! (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6765-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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