This quirky, sidelong look at a common childhood experience will be just the thing for readers and listeners who enjoy a...

ROSE AND THE WISH THING

A lonely young girl makes a wish that eventually comes true in both magical and pragmatic ways.

Rose is a shaggy-haired, scratchily drawn preschool-sized white girl whose family has recently moved. Alone in her room she makes a wish, “but the wish thing did not come.” The facing page, however, shows an indeterminate furry creature with long ears and a sizable schnoz setting out in a rolling box. Rose’s family’s efforts to help her feel at home appear mostly in vignettes. Occasional double-page spreads track the progress of the cardboard box as it zooms over snowy mountains and sails through stormy seas. The two paths finally cross, and Rose takes her first, tentative steps toward settling in. Magerl’s succinct (and occasionally cryptic) text complements her pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations. Together, words and pictures effectively evoke Rose’s lonely state and her family’s befuddlement and caring. The artwork, while decidedly original, brings to mind Ed Koren’s cartoons, with a touch of Edward Gorey’s charming grotesquerie. Odd animals and oddly lifelike dolls and stuffed toys add to the offbeat atmosphere.

This quirky, sidelong look at a common childhood experience will be just the thing for readers and listeners who enjoy a touch of whimsy and mystery (and who won’t mind not finding out what the wish thing actually is—or exactly what happens next). (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53617-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous.

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THE KING OF KINDERGARTEN

Newbery honoree Barnes (Crown, illustrated by Gordon C. James, 2017) shows a black boy what to expect on his first day as “king” of kindergarten.

A young boy greets the reader with a sweet smile. “The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets. / It sits and shines behind your head—like a crown.” The text continues in second person while the boy gets ready for his first day—brushing “Ye Royal Chiclets,” dressing himself, eating breakfast with his mother and father before riding “a big yellow carriage” to “a grand fortress.” The kind teacher and the other children at his table are as eager to meet him as he is to meet them. Important topics are covered in class (“shapes, the alphabet, and the never-ending mystery of numbers”), but playing at recess and sharing with new friends at lunch are highlights too, followed by rest time and music. The playful illustrations use texture and shadow to great effect, with vibrant colors and dynamic shapes and lines sustaining readers’ interest on every page. Text and visuals work together beautifully to generate excitement and confidence in children getting ready to enter kindergarten. The little king’s smiling brown face is refreshing and heartwarming. The other children and parents are a mix of races; the teacher and staff are mostly brown.

Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4074-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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