The talking crafted toys hold considerable child appeal.

FORKY IN CRAFT BUDDY DAY

Bonnie so loves her homemade toy, Forky, teacher Miss Wendy holds a Craft Your Own Buddy Day so everyone can create a special toy from found or recycled materials.

After the children finish their projects, they leave for recess—and the newly created toys come to life. Lovable Forky is excited to have new friends to play with, but he rapidly realizes the new toys have serious existential concerns. Juice Box Robot wants someone to drink from him. Miss Paper Plate and Paper Bag Puppet are looking for food to hold. Bubble Wrap Woman begins obsessively popping herself. Everyone is feeling out of their comfort zone, arguing and yelling, so Forky takes charge before the children return and wisely explains that to be a toy, made with a child’s love and imagination, is now “the best thing to be.” The cartoon drawings emulate a child’s artistic hand, while a dual narrative that combines traditional prose text with speech bubbles moves the story along. In this companion to Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 (readers familiar with the franchise will recognize some of the faces in the background), Daywalt reiterates the series’ message that toys and their owners love one other. However, the underlying theme of creativity with the simplest of materials will resonate as well. Bonnie presents white, and she has racially diverse classmates.

The talking crafted toys hold considerable child appeal. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4847-9958-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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