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A book to be shared again and again.

A merry group shares special experiences on a camping trip.

A just-about perfect day begins when two children—one brown-skinned, one tan-skinned—and a tan-skinned adult marvel at a glorious sunrise and revel in the realization that TODAY is for sharing. Things just get better from there. The family greets the other campers—who are diverse in skin tone and age—and the brown-skinned child waves to a lighter-skinned friend; throughout, this pair can be seen hugging, playing, and holding hands. The campers all play games, hike, share meals, and go boating. The fun continues well into the night as everyone gathers by a campfire to sing songs. The outing turns out to be a warm, memorable one for all concerned, joyfully expressed through bouncy, lilting rhymes (“A hammock is perfect / for dreaming. A chair / is just right for three”). Emphasizing warmth, good feelings, and togetherness, this sweet tale about a most enjoyable excursion makes for a cozy lap-time or group read-aloud. The colorful, exuberant art, both hand-painted and digitally rendered, captures the expansiveness of the outdoors as well as the openness of the campers’ spirits. Adults reading this tale aloud should encourage children to discuss their own outdoor or camping exploits. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A book to be shared again and again. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 13, 2023

ISBN: 9780823443475

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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