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THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA

A charming winner about purpose, bravery, and making one’s dreams come true.

Dedication and determination are everything.

Gabriel, an old elephant who lives by the sea, reminisces about visiting a lifeboat as a youngster. He loved watching the crew ready it to rescue sailors and enjoyed listening to them sing sea shanties. He longed to be so brave! When Gabriel asked to join them, they told him to return when he was older and stronger. Gabriel read about storms and sea rescues and practiced rowing. He grew older, stronger, and BIGGER. By the time he returned to the crew, Gabriel had unfortunately grown too large to fit into the boat. More intent than ever, Gabriel constructed his own vessel, singing mightily. Meanwhile, the fishing fleet set out, then ran into big trouble when a strong gale hit. The regular lifeboat team couldn’t help. Guess who rescued the sailors safely with his own powerful vessel? In the end, everyone decided to build a larger craft to accommodate everyone. By turns thrilling and warmly reassuring, this story demonstrates that resolve—and inclusion—wins out; readers will cheer for Gabriel all the way. Sailing through the narrative are vigorous shanties readers might well join in on. Fitting his animal cast out in thick sweaters and raincoats, Vere brings the Cornish setting to life beautifully. Gabriel cuts an endearing figure in the lively illustrations, rendered in a limited palette of soft oranges, grays, and blues.

A charming winner about purpose, bravery, and making one’s dreams come true. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780525580904

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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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THE CURIOUS WHY

From the Magical Yet series , Vol. 2

Why not? Fun, cheery, and entertaining: just the ticket for the perennially inquisitive—or perpetually bored.

In this follow-up to The Magical Yet (2020), a child finds an antidote to apathy.

Talk about ennui! The red-spectacled, brown-skinned, dark-haired young protagonist is listless and bored. The little one has tried everything: the computer, toys…YAWN! But as the rhyming narration bounces along at a sprightly clip, a visitor arrives at the door. It’s the Curious Why, who resembles a flowery, leafy artichoke. The Curious Why ushers the child along on an inspirational path to great fun and tremendous learning. “You’re only bored if you choose to be,” says the Curious Why. There’s an enormous world out there just waiting to be explored by anyone who’s willing to be a “knowledge-collector” and a “gotta-know creature.” In other words, kids should ask questions about everything going on in the world. Where does the Why go for answers to these queries? The library, of course! On the next spread, we see the protagonist reading a book atop a winged prehistoric creature while dinosaurs mill about in the background. Other kids explore their passions, too; one uses a telescope to study the stars, another bakes, and another learns about bees. DiTerlizzi offers youngsters an upbeat, sensible cure for a serious case of the blahs; it’s not necessarily guaranteed to work, but it’s definitely worth a try. Readers will love the colorful, energetic, swirling digital illustrations, especially those dinos. Background characters are diverse.

Why not? Fun, cheery, and entertaining: just the ticket for the perennially inquisitive—or perpetually bored. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780316500142

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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