THE QUEEN’S PROGRESS

AN ELIZABETHAN ALPHABET

Queen Elizabeth I makes her way through the English countryside on one of her summer “progresses,” attended by an entourage that includes two traitors. Arranged alphabetically, Elizabeth’s travels are narrated, as in so many alphabet books these days, on two levels. The alphabet letters introduce short, doggerel verse, while accompanying text boxes provide fuller information about the goings-on. This split-personality organization conveys too little information for those whose attention spans limit the experience to the alphabet portion of the narrative. “I is for intrigue, / and shadowy strangers,” will be nothing short of baffling to this set, although older children will learn that “[m]any plots were aimed at Queen Elizabeth during her reign.” Ibatoulline seems able to adapt his style to anything, here rendering lush, detailed oils that recall the Northern European masters of the Renaissance. The traitors, however, although they are introduced in the “A” spread, do not figure enough throughout the rest of the illustrations to build a satisfying tension before the climax. A potentially lovely and interesting effort, but both text and illustrations just miss the mark. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-670-03612-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2003

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The feelings of community and togetherness are palpable.

SNOW GLOBE WISHES

When a snowstorm blows through town, it knocks out power and sends evening commuters scurrying for the safety and warmth of home.

But in the electricity-free night, one family turns the darkness into an opportunity to slow down and enjoy time together. This charming story follows the evening of an interracial family of four: a brown-skinned and dark-haired woman, little girl, and little boy, and a man presenting as white with light-colored skin and light hair. They have a candlelit picnic of Chinese takeout next to a blazing fireplace and decorated Christmas tree. The family enjoys the rest of the quiet snowy evening beneath a blanket fort in which they sleep together, cat and dog bundled in as well. The next morning, they and the rest of the community go out to play in the snow. The final spread in the book depicts the family’s cat and dog looking at the happy human tableau, now within the snow globe, which reads “Peace on Earth.” The muted colors, simple, childlike renderings, and happy characters make this book about a snowstorm feel warm and cozy—think hygge in picture-book form. Aside from the star-topped, decorated tree and the “Peace on Earth” message, often associated with Christmas, there are no religious symbols used in the book.

The feelings of community and togetherness are palpable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-53411-031-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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