From the Coco and Bear series

An enjoyable, gently empowering friendship story.

It’s easier to feel brave with a friend.

In this sequel to Share Some Kindness (2020), a brown bear and a brown-skinned girl named Coco excitedly practice their dance moves for the talent show. They’re different in some ways, but as best pals they complement each other. Bear is big, while Coco is small; Bear is shy, while Coco is brave. Bear acknowledges he would never be bold enough to do the talent show solo, though Coco says he makes up the best dance moves. When dress rehearsal starts, Coco discovers she’s lost her brave and can’t continue. Some animal buddies suggest strategies that might work (meditation, practicing before a small audience, shouting at the fear to let it know who’s boss); these help somewhat, but they’re not enough to convince Coco to perform. The friends must inform Mama Deer that they’re dropping out of the show, but they’ll have to traverse a wobbly rope bridge first. They’re both afraid, but Coco patiently helps Bear get across, and the pair make a terrific discovery: Coco hasn’t lost her brave—it was just “hiding behind your fear,” as Bear puts it. Coco chooses “to let [her] brave be bigger than [her] fear” and performs with Bear in the talent show after all, because she’s now ready for anything. Though predictable, this tale is sweet, reassuring, and uplifting. Coco and Bear are a relatable, supportive duo. The lively illustrations, created with watercolor and digital ink, are very appealing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An enjoyable, gently empowering friendship story. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9911-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


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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