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An overworked metaphor may yet manage to inspire.

In the Land of Dreams, Dream Keepers wait to help wishes and dreams do what they need to do to come true.

Wishes and dreams (used interchangeably) start in Inspiration Lake. When they come true, they end up in the sky as stars. Sometimes, wishes are easy to launch into the sky. But sometimes, reaching the sky requires traversing the rocky terrain of Challenge Mountain. For this reason, each dream (depicted as a smiling star) is assigned two Dream Keepers (depicted as blue beings in onesies) to help it successfully complete its journey. One Dream Keeper is in charge of Happy Thoughts, while the other is in charge of Hard Work. No matter how difficult the journey, dreams begin on the Path of Purpose and take things one step at a time. Dream Keepers help the dream move past distractions and to wade through the Swamp of Discovery, where all kinds of surprises await. Still, despite this care and attention, not every dream will make it: Many end up in the land of Lost Dreams instead of the sky. But no matter how far you get with your dream or your wish, the Dream Keepers make sure to celebrate your progress. This whimsically illustrated picture book is written in a colloquial voice that addresses readers with warmth and sincerity. While the complexity of the metaphor can be difficult to follow—and, at times, feels like it gets in the way of the story—the inspirational message shines through warmly.

An overworked metaphor may yet manage to inspire. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-57687-987-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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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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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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