Kids will find comfort in the familiar “needs” of the cold and knowing that they will get better soon to “run around and...

WHAT A COLD NEEDS

Being sick is never fun, but it helps to know exactly what a cold might need to go on its way.

Follow along as a young child copes with a cold and makes note of everything important to feel better. Warm socks, puppy snuggles, and a bit of sympathy from your siblings are just a few things that come to mind that help our young protagonist. The text phrases these necessities with lyricism and whimsy: A cold “likes to listen to the chirping of the birds // and the tinkling of raindrops, / with a clear view of the sweet blue sky.” Sheban’s soft-edged illustrations join Bottner’s soothingly paced text, offering full-page and vignette illustrations to accompany complex sentences beat by beat and slowing down for languorous double-page spreads where a single clause or simple declarative sentence stops to take its time for, for instance, some “music and a long, deep afternoon nap.” Here the child sleeps, mouth open (a red nose attests that it’s plugged), a snoozing dog atop the blankets and a radio emitting musical notes. The palette, sun-drenched greens and earth hues, is visual chicken soup. The protagonist’s mom has light-brown skin and her dad presents white, suggesting an interracial family.

Kids will find comfort in the familiar “needs” of the cold and knowing that they will get better soon to “run around and cause just a little trouble” once again. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4172-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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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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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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