WE LAUGH ALIKE / JUNTOS NOS REÍMOS

A STORY THAT'S PART SPANISH, PART ENGLISH, AND A WHOLE LOT OF FUN

A sweet demonstration of how friendship can transcend language barriers.

Two groups of friends, one that speaks English, the other speaking Spanish, encounter each other at the park and learn to communicate through the language of play.

The two languages are reflected in a responsive dual text, though not an exact translation, that allows readers to engage with each group’s thinking and understanding. “We listen to the other kids, even though we don’t understand a word of Spanish. / Escuchamos a los tres niños, aunque no sabemos inglés.” The literal translations are: “Escuchamos a los otros niños, a pesar de no entender una palabra de español. / We listen to the three children, even though we don’t know English.” The two groups—both racially diverse—cautiously observe each other and then each begins to learn the other’s games until they are counting, jumping rope, dancing, singing, and playing together. The cheery art using scanned textures and bold colors highlights the activity, setting it in a city park in the shadow of numerous skyscrapers. The simple, dual text works well to establish the concept that these children have much in common. But the wording of the English title, We Laugh Alike, is awkward in comparison to the Spanish version, which translates as Together We Laugh and jibes better with the spirit of the story. Nevertheless, the children are alike in their eagerness to befriend one another and laugh together.

A sweet demonstration of how friendship can transcend language barriers. (glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-096-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

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

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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