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A satisfactory trans picture book that can support discussion at home or school.

Sam’s brother wonders if they can still play the same games now that Sam has come out as transgender.

“Brothers to the moon!” Evan proclaims as he leads his two siblings on an imaginary space journey. The only problem is that Sam isn’t his brother—she’s his sister. Evan is hurt that Sam doesn’t want to be like her brothers anymore; Sam wants long hair, bows, and princess books. With the help of supportive parents, Evan comes to understand and accept Sam’s choices and her autonomy, and he learns that even princesses can go to the moon. The simple, full-page illustrations portraying the White family are cute but feel aesthetically and emotionally stiff. Like most trans girls in fiction, Sam has stereotypically girly interests and many pink outfits, but Rhodes-Courter does point out that clothes, books, and hobbies are for everyone, regardless of gender. The text is a little more instructional than it is entertaining, but it successfully explains being transgender in a clear and age-appropriate way while demonstrating the value of a loving family. Though it falls into the unfortunate trap of centering the experience of cisgender family members, it does have a worthwhile lesson: Transitioning does not change who someone is in their heart.

A satisfactory trans picture book that can support discussion at home or school. (author's note, resources) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0651-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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