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BEST FRINTS AT SKROOL

Gurm’s company, but threep doesn’t have to be a crowd when it comes to starting school and making new friends.

Omek and Yelfred have weathered friendship difficulties before (Best Frints in the Whole Universe, 2016), but can their relationship survive Yelfred’s picking Q-B as his new best frint?

Skrool on Boborp is similar to school on Earth, with rules, learning, and bloox to read, though Portis’ pictures and text hilariously contradict each other. “When the bell BLANGS the stroodents sit quietly.” In the picture, they bite and kick, and across the gutter, they yell as they “learn to listen when their skreecher spleeks.” At recess, “childrinx make new frints,” and this is where the trouble starts for poor Omek, whose best frint, Yelfred, has a new best frint, Q-B. Omek’s frown deepens and their shoulders and head sag ever more as Yelfred and Q-B grow close and leave them out of their fun. But some lunch sharing (“Spewd flight!”) gives Omek the opening he needs. Portis’ illustrations, done with pencil, charcoal, and a Cintiq drawing tablet, once again use a brilliant palette and digital textures to great effect, bringing to vivid life this alien world. The characters are diverse in color, shape, size, and numbers of eyes, tentacles, and appendages. Endpapers add to the fun (and help decipher the Boborpian language) with a glossary of terms, the numbers from one to 10, and directions for playing eye ball in the peedle pit.

Gurm’s company, but threep doesn’t have to be a crowd when it comes to starting school and making new friends. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-871-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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

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CLAYMATES

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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