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FAMOUS SEAWEED SOUP

An enjoyable revision of an endearing story.

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A little girl gathers materials for make-believe soup in this updated picture-book reissue.

Sara and her family are spending a day at the beach. As Mommy and Daddy unpack and get baby Hallie settled, Sara announces it’s time to make her Famous Seaweed Soup. The story is a riff on "The Little Red Hen": “Sara asked, ‘Who will help me stir in the sand for my Famous Seaweed Soup?’ ‘Not I,’ replied Daddy. ‘I’m teaching Hallie how to swim.’ ‘Not I,’ replied Mommy. ‘I‘m reading my book.’ ” Sara collects seawater, two kinds of seaweed, sand, shells, feathers, and even snails (promising to return them). When the soup is completed, the fable’s moral is delightfully subverted—everyone who didn’t help must pretend to eat it. Weber’s full-color illustrations are new, but the text is mostly the same as the 1990s version (notably, the term “radio station” has been changed to playlist). Previously, Sara and her family all appeared White in the original illustrations; in this new version, Sara’s dad is White, her mom is Black with natural hair, and the kids have brown skin and brown curly hair. The images offer a nice update to the tale, beautifully rendered in a realistic watercolor style that perfectly captures a day at the beach in a story that’s as sweet as ever.

An enjoyable revision of an endearing story.

Pub Date: May 9, 2023

ISBN: 9781955119399

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Purple Butterfly Press

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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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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