Next book

THE NEW FRIEND

This all-too-common childhood experience is dramatized with an emotional honesty that, refreshingly, skirts sentimentality.

The devoted friendship of two children ends without warning.

The narrator uses the past tense to describe an easygoing, intimate friendship: “I had a friend / a dear friend / with long brown hair.” The two delighted in playing outdoors: picking wildflowers, wading in the brook, and talking and reading together underneath a tree. But one day the narrator calls for her, and “she [isn’t] there.” A trip through the woods reveals that she is with a different friend, and this new duo does many of the same things she once did with the narrator. The narrator grieves—but dreams of a new friendship. Zolotow’s text, originally published in 1968 (with illustrations by Emily Arnold McCully), sensitively captures the trauma of abruptly losing a friend, never diminishing the pain of such a betrayal. Yet the story does not allow the protagonist to wallow in self-pity and instead ends on a moderately hopeful note: The narrator, though still sad, considers a future in which “I won’t care” about having lost this friendship. Chaud’s illustrations feature a verdant, richly colored world as the children run and play in the woods. Playful animal face masks the pair enjoys are used to great effect: When loyalties are abandoned, the narrator disconsolately watches the two new friends wear them, and an enigmatic rabbit mask conceals the identity of the narrator’s imagined new friend. All children are depicted as White.

This all-too-common childhood experience is dramatized with an emotional honesty that, refreshingly, skirts sentimentality. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-990252-01-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Milky Way Picture Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

Next book

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

Next book

CLAYMATES

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Close Quickview