First-day jitters, inclusivity, and an engaging superhero tale all in one.

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RAE'S FIRST DAY

THE FIRST STORY IN THE CAPABLES SERIES

A kindergartener uses her secret superpower on her first day of school in this picture book.

Rae starts her day with her dad’s affirmations: He assures her she’s strong, smart, and—most importantly—capable. That word gives her a jolt, which she knows emanates from her superpower. But she’s nervous about how kids will react to her limb difference (“Her right arm was shorter than her left, and her hand had two fingers”). To comfort her, her father has her repeat words they’ve shared: “Some people will look at me differently, and that’s okay” because differences “make our world super.” Confidence restored, Rae meets her classmates, and they easily accept her—difference and all—as a friend. When recess is threatened due to rain, Rae confides to a new pal about her superpower, then ducks behind a bookcase to summon the sunshine and save the day. While this series opener addresses Rae’s limb difference, it’s couched within a superhero story that’s the real focus of the comic book–styled work. The tale deftly shows that kids with differences can be heroes. Perciante’s bright cartoon illustrations, featuring a diverse cast, are sometimes full page and sometimes in panels, with lettering in boxes and word balloons to reinforce the comic-book influence. While the vocabulary Jordan uses is more appropriate for confident readers beyond kindergarten, the lap crowd will be enthralled by the format, and preschoolers will find comfort in Rae’s success.

First-day jitters, inclusivity, and an engaging superhero tale all in one.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73-645800-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The Capables, LLC

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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