A simple tale of building a friendship and good memories using few words and luminous artwork.

A day in the snow for two kids in two languages.

Readers might be tempted to flip past the frontmatter to the start of the story. But take time to linger over the evocative endpapers that show a big yellow moving truck parked outside a blue and white house in a snowy landscape. An adult and a child, both with pale skin and black hair, are standing on the porch, about to open the door. Turn the page, and there is another adult-and-child pair, both with brown skin and dark hair, bringing their new neighbors a gift of food. Like many friendships, this story builds slowly, one interaction at a time, urging readers to savor each moment. The first child speaks Japanese and the second, English; yet their intent and interactions are seemingly understood, facilitated by snowy-day play and bilingual conversation. Eventually the cold pushes them inside to enjoy Japanese tea, a treat, and origami. Stoop’s captivating mixed-media illustrations depict dramatic perspectives even in the kids’ first meeting, their bold, bright figures striking against a pastel snowy scene. Napoli’s spare text trusts primarily English-speaking readers to derive sufficient meaning from the bilingual spreads while lacking the scaffolding to facilitate deeper cultural comprehension for both kids. Notes from author and illustrator each offer depth and background as well as insight into their artistic partnership.

A simple tale of building a friendship and good memories using few words and luminous artwork. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12227-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021


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


From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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