RED LIGHT, GREEN LION

Funny, helpful, empathetic, accessible, and perfect for an interactive group read-aloud or quiet contemplation under the...

“Red light, green li-”—not so fast!

Readers will eagerly rush to finish this familiar phrase with the word “light,” but a page turn that cuts that fourth word off after “li-” leads to unexpected endings: “green li- / -ghtning,” “green li- / -lac,” “green li- / -fesaver,” “green li- / -ma bean,” green li- / -feboat.” This playful picture book stretches out these surprise endings, keeping children entertained and engaged while positing that life often dishes up the unpredictable. An expressive green lion encounters all these shockers (floating livestock, endangered library books), and his dumbfounded dot eyes, hair-on-end mane, and earnest efforts to get through such a kooky day evoke empathy and laughs. A matter-of-fact, soothing narrative voice admits “some days, nothing goes the way we thought it would. But then something happens that makes the journey easier” and also “[s]ome days, everything slows down, and we may feel stuck. Those are good times to be still and think.” Assured pastel and brush-pen illustrations inscribe a world outlined in simple colors, set atop cloud-white backdrops—it’s an environment that makes thinking about murky concepts easy for young people.

Funny, helpful, empathetic, accessible, and perfect for an interactive group read-aloud or quiet contemplation under the covers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0015-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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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