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THE TWO MUTCH SISTERS

Sisters with too much learn to appreciate their differences in this lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek tale.

When the titular two Mutch sisters finally collect too much, one sister moves into her own house, prompting the other to make her own dramatic change.

Ruby and Violet Mutch, both white, started their obsessive collecting as little girls. “As the sisters grew, so did their collection” of matched possessions, including sundials and snorkels, clavichords and canoes, gargoyles and glockenspiels, until their house “was stuffed to the shingles with two of everything.” Eventually, an overwhelmed Ruby strikes out on her own, moving her half of the collection to her own new house on the other side of town, where she arranges it as she wants. Ruby’s pleased she’s “made everything just right” but feels something’s missing and isn’t sure what until Violet unleashes a bold plan to ensure the Mutch sisters “never had too much of anything” and just enough of each other. The title’s clever wordplay, the paired collections of bizarre items, and the visually jam-packed pages reinforce the theme of “too much.” Cartoonlike ink-and-watercolor illustrations use bold outlines, bright colors, and whimsical details to chronicle the Mutch sisters’ amusing journey from fledging collectors to full-fledged hoarders and from separation (traced through a double-page map) to contented reunion.

Sisters with too much learn to appreciate their differences in this lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-43074-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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