A sweet message lost in a rather confusing storyboard.

SHINE

A WORDLESS BOOK ABOUT LOVE

A wordless picture book ponders love.

Mia, a white girl with auburn hair, rises in the morning, says a little prayer (Matthew 5:14), reads a book, and then puts on her colorful scarf to greet the gray world outside. A rainbow wash of color emanating from her feet is symbolic of love as it spreads to others she encounters along her path, bringing brightness and life to her world. It begins with a simple friendly greeting to a friend across the street, but her light soon grabs others as well. Each day she heads out into the world with a different article of cozy clothing, the only real hint at a timeline, and spreads love to yet another person she encounters until the whole neighborhood is no longer gray and sad but vibrant. Her transitions from the street to the inside of her home are abrupt and seemingly inexplicable. One moment she is outside meeting someone new while headed nowhere in particular, the next she’s back home, then bundling up to head out the door again. Equally confusing are the relationships among Mia and the other characters: Are these friends, family members, or perfect strangers met out on the street? Though the watercolor illustrations have a cozy vintage feel reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s, each spread seems to stand on its own rather than contributing to a narrative whole.

A sweet message lost in a rather confusing storyboard. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4964-3749-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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