A series starter that encourages thinking in new ways.

SQUISHY SAND!

From the Leigh's Wheelie Adventures series , Vol. 1

A boy and his friends use a wheelchair for sand adventures in a picture book about creative problem-solving.

Leigh, Cosmo, Tara, and two dogs are enjoying the boardwalk together when Tara suggests going down to the beach. “Sorry, guys, my wheels get stuck in the sand,” explains Leigh, who uses a wheelchair. The pals brainstorm ways for everyone to enjoy the sand, first using the dogs to pull the chair like huskies. When that doesn’t work, Cosmo realizes the wheels need to be wider and finds dune-buggy tires, which the friends affix over Leigh’s wheels. The result? “Leigh is zooming across the sand all on his own!” Although McIver’s story focuses on a wheelchair’s limitations, the way the three kids find solutions feels empowering. Some may find a scene in which Tara and Cosmo take Leigh’s chair for a spin to be problematic, but the way they credit Leigh as the expert on maneuvering the chair helps to normalize his experience. McIver’s simple sentences and accessible vocabulary (with some Australian spellings, such as tyres) make this story, inspired by the author’s late son, a good choice for independent readers. Debut artist Keys’ eye-catching, cheerful watercolor illustrations realistically depict the characters; Tara appears to be of Asian heritage, and Cosmo, who wears glasses, and Leigh are light-skinned.

A series starter that encourages thinking in new ways.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-648-41783-5

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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