Bold and stirring.

Understand your story and listen to others’.

An unseen narrator muses on how special everyone is through a series of connected passages that will leave readers contemplating their places in the world. Readers are reminded that they are many things: someone’s child, an animal, a body of water (mostly), and much more. The text is informative and inspirational: “You are a sponge. You are constantly soaking up new information. You are a student of the world. You learn by trying new things. You absorb everything you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch.” As the declarations continue, a diverse group of children with different skin tones, hair textures, and physical abilities explore and interact with their world and with each other. Accompanied by appealing digital illustrations that have an intimate, collagelike feel, the story is a little nonfiction (with a few facts about the solar system, water, and more sprinkled in) and a lot pep talk and will hopefully inspire young readers and caregivers alike to remember that we are all unique and that we each contain multitudes. The final message is perhaps the most profound: “You are a story. You are the author of your life. Every day is a blank page waiting for you to fill it. Make your story funny. Make it an adventure. Tell your story to others. Then listen to theirs.” That final sentence is an important reminder for readers of all ages. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Bold and stirring. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4914-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022


As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021


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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