A resourceful, expertly written tale that explores and validates children’s emotions.

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A child copes with anger in this picture book.

Using the refrain “Sometimes when I’m mad,” a girl explains what happens when “everything goes wrong.” Mama says, “Sometimes when we’re mad, it’s because we can’t control what’s happening,” advising her to focus on what she “can control.” Working on a puzzle makes the girl feel better. When she is mad because “nothing feels right,” like her “socks are too scratchy,” Papa tells her: “When we feel mad, we may be tired.” Following a nap, she feels less irritated. After she notes, “When I’m mad, my body doesn’t feel good,” she receives a soothing hug from Grandma. When the girl reacts in ways “that don’t help,” such as yelling at her brother, Grandpa suggests apologizing. On the playground, the girl doesn’t know “how to act.” Her teacher points out: “Sometimes when we’re mad, it’s hard to understand…what we’re feeling and why.” He recommends talking to a trusted person. Chatting with Mama improves the girl’s mood. The story portrays realistic scenarios that will resonate with readers. Serani, a psychologist, utilizes approachable language and helpful examples that demonstrate tools and coping skills. The insights are ideal for kids and adults. Teis’ graphic illustrations, which depict an Asian American family, have an unusual, photographic quality. They thoughtfully emphasize the girl’s emotions and body language, as when she sits alone feeling “icky and tricky.” Many feature colorful backdrops with textures like scratches and lines.

A resourceful, expertly written tale that explores and validates children’s emotions.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63-198609-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021


Charming and thought-provoking proof that we all contain multitudes.

Oscar winner McConaughey offers intriguing life observations.

The series of pithy, wry comments, each starting with the phrase “Just because,” makes clear that each of us is a mass of contradictions: “Just because we’re friends, / doesn’t mean you can’t burn me. / Just because I’m stubborn, / doesn’t mean that you can’t turn me.” Witty, digitally rendered vignettes portray youngsters diverse in terms of race and ability (occasionally with pets looking on) dealing with everything from friendship drama to a nerve-wracking footrace. “Just because I’m dirty, / doesn’t mean I can’t get clean” is paired with an image of a youngster taking a bath while another character (possibly an older sibling) sits nearby, smiling. “Just because you’re nice, / doesn’t mean you can’t get mean” depicts the older one berating the younger one for tracking mud into the house. The artwork effectively brings to life the succinct, rhyming text and will help readers make sense of it. Perhaps, after studying the illustrations and gaining further insight into the comments, kids will reread and reflect upon them further. The final page unites the characters from earlier pages with a reassuring message for readers: “Just because the sun has set, / doesn’t mean it will not rise. / Because every day is a gift, / each one a new surprise. BELIEVE IT.” As a follow-up, readers should be encouraged to make their own suggestions to complete the titular phrase. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Charming and thought-provoking proof that we all contain multitudes. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9780593622032

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023


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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