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A story of body acceptance that will resonate more with grown-ups than young people.

In this tale translated from Italian, a grandfather teaches his grandson about the beauty of aging.

Every Tuesday, Grandpa Amnon picks up Yotam from kindergarten, and the two go to Aviva’s cafe. Aviva calls them “the grandpa who laughs and the boy who draws,” and on this particular day, Yotam asks Grandpa about his wrinkles. “Wrinkles are something grownups get,” Grandpa responds. He explains that some wrinkles come from sad moments and others from happy ones. Yotam thinks that one of Grandpa’s wrinkles, which formed after the death of a beloved dog, “looks like Papaya’s tail,” while Grandpa claims that another comes from his frequent smiles after the birth of his grandson. The book wraps up with Yotam deciding that he simply must draw what he’s learned. Relying on lingering moments and lengthy descriptions, this feels more like a meditation on aging, loss, and joy for adults than a tale for children; those without a sentimental attachment to a wrinkled adult likely won’t feel any particular connection. The spare, blue art is intriguing, and the book’s creative use of outlining and white space (with characters who are either seen in blueish silhouettes or have skin the white of the page) adds to the mature feel of the text.

A story of body acceptance that will resonate more with grown-ups than young people. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781773068275

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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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

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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