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In this lyrical, bilingual story, a grandmother’s knowledge reveals wonders.

An Anishinaabe grandmother teaches her grandchild that by close observation, the natural world of plants, insects, animals, and birds will reveal how to know when seasons change from one to the next.

Written in English and translated into Anishinaabemowin by the Corbieres, an Anishinaabe father and son pair, the story begins with the question, “Aaniish ezhi-gkedmaanh niibing? / How do I know summer is here?” This question is repeated for fall, winter, and spring, the Anishinaabemowin always preceding the English on the page. The grandchild learns how to recognize nature’s signs of the changing seasons by watching and paying attention. With easily understood explanations, the elder shows how nature accommodates plants and animals, birds and insects. “When yellow Bumblebee collects purple fireweed…blueberries drop readily, [and] the sun slips into an orange dream,” summer is here. The arrival of fall is signaled “when Mallard feasts on yellow corn, and Black Bear licks the ant pile clean”; winter is on its way when “gray Mouse sneaks inside for warmth”; and spring is heralded by “brown Peeper sing[ing], ‘Goodnight, little one.’ ” Luby draws on her Anishinaabe heritage and time as a child with elders as inspiration for this gentle intergenerational tale set in the present day. Ojibwe Woodland artist Pawis-Steckley renders the scenes with bold outlines and jewel colors, many figures gently styled with traditional designs. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-19.5-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50.7% of actual size.)

In this lyrical, bilingual story, a grandmother’s knowledge reveals wonders. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-326-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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 Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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