Careful nurturing begets the launch into the unknown: Valentini celebrates both as natural and fitting.

STAY, LITTLE SEED

In Valentini’s fable, originally published in Italy in 2008, a gust of wind wafts a tree’s seeds away—leaving one.

The tree urges the little seed off: “Hurry up, or you’ll be left behind. / Don’t you want to join all your brothers and sisters?” The seed is fearful about flying off to “Who Knows Where.” The tree, personifying the parent’s classic conflict between the impulse to cosset offspring and helping them individuate, allows the seed to stay. “Just one more day” becomes another, then a week, then more, as the tree frets about rain, sun, and wind. This shared stasis continues until a deus ex magpie snatches the seed and, laughing, drops it Who Knows Where. Throughout ensuing seasonal cycles, the tree, “wondering with its tender heart,” worries about the seed. One day, a voice from below hails the tree, who recognizes its progeny, now transformed as “a sapling, beautiful and strong.” Giordano’s pictures—precise black line drawings against cream-colored pages—don’t so much extend the text as parallel-play with it. Tree and seeds sport faces dominated by curvilinear noses in accent colors of blue, green, and red. Woodland creatures help nurture the seed, which even spends time nestled among a bird’s eggs. Fancifully, tiny trappings—hats, rain boots—share some critters’ polka-dot coloration.

Careful nurturing begets the launch into the unknown: Valentini celebrates both as natural and fitting. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77164-646-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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