Portis perfectly captures how children experience the world, the immediacy and magic of it all; exuberant and quiet, simple...

NOW

A young girl lives in the moment, her mindfulness of the world distilled into a list of favorite things whose ephemerality she celebrates now.

Running barefoot in the grass, a cinnamon-complexioned girl meets the breeze with open arms. Readers are swept up by the girl’s joy as the text exclaims, “This is my favorite breeze.” With the same enthusiasm, she shares a burnished red leaf, a puddle of mud, and a flower’s scent. For this auburn-haired child, the natural world is full of wonder and beauty; and nothing is so gratifying as what is being done now. Repetition of the simple sentence structure makes for a perfect read-along as the author creates a lovely rhythm layered with meaning. When the girl’s list moves from outside to inside, a similar progression is made from the external world to the internal. The pajama-clad girl hugs her cat, stares up at the moon, and reads a book with her caregiver. What seems to have been a collection of simple thoughts now leads to a profound revelation—that the child fully appreciates this time with her loved one. Text and art enhance each other, both like an East Asian sumi-e painting: deceivingly simple but highly sophisticated, every mark with meaning and purpose.

Portis perfectly captures how children experience the world, the immediacy and magic of it all; exuberant and quiet, simple and complex, and extremely satisfying. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-137-1

Page Count: 37

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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