MY MONSTER FRIENDS AND ME

A BIG KID'S GUIDE TO THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT

A solid choice to address fears.

A child invites readers to uncover common childhood fears and describes how to transform monsters to friends.

An 8-year-old kid shares experiences with monsters and fears—and the secret to handling them: Naming each monster makes the fear go away. The first sharp-toothed monster lives on the other side of a picket fence. It turns out the first monster’s name is Kate and is actually a sweet dog. The protagonist continues through the house addressing other monsters, or common childhood fears, including shadows, the dark, thunder and lightning, and, of course, the monster under the bed. Each fear is first illustrated and described with its own dark, frightening monster personality, but with a flip of the page it is transformed into a bright, cheery version of what it really is. This is a great way to start talking to young children about their fears and the monsters they become in their imaginations. In rhyming verse, Sarac encourages children to take control of their fears by giving them names and reimagining them as friends, not foes. Some of the verses do not flow smoothly, but they still get the message across. The illustrations combine bold colors, geometrical shapes, and lots of textures and patterns that really emphasize the darkness of fears—and the light of reimagining them. The bespectacled protagonist has pale skin and wavy black hair.

A solid choice to address fears. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9367-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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

BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

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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