This book proclaims what children already know: Creativity and making art spark joy.

An adult artist celebrates child artists.

A multicolored creature—a dragon or perhaps a dinosaur—creatively ablaze, enlivens a city with her art. As third-person narrator, author/illustrator Vere speaks for child artists who may not be able to articulate what it’s like to create. He also helps child artists understand, appreciate, and validate themselves. He gets kid artists and their imperative to create, and he draws like them, too: Check out the colorful, boldly imaginative, dynamic, quirky, and wonderfully child-appealing illustrations herein. Bonus: Vere also speaks to parents, caregivers, teachers, and librarians who will share this volume with kids to offer perspective on and to help them respect and accept child artists and value their creative processes and masterpieces. If this seems philosophical and lofty, the soothing text and lively art will change minds. Kids will note illustrations they could have produced—and that’s the point. Plus, they’ll love that the protagonist makes a very common childhood artistic faux pas: She colors outside the lines! But, narrator Vere assures his artist-hero: “Mistakes are how you learn! Heart is what matters. And your art is full of heart….Please paint again!” His final encouragement for all child artists: “Keep seeing the beauty…keep going!” Understanding adults know children need such incentives to continue creating, to keep imaginations buzzing, and to use whatever media they desire to portray the world as they see it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This book proclaims what children already know: Creativity and making art spark joy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-525-58087-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023


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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