A lovely way to promote acceptance of introverts by themselves and others.

READ REVIEW

WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING

What do you do when no one is watching?

A girl might be shy, but it doesn’t mean she can’t be brave and adventurous when no one can see her! This appealing heroine tries to disappear when other people are around, but when she is alone or with her best friend, she can do almost anything. Rhymed text describes both her attempts to avoid detection (“I hide like the cat alongside the big chair. / I scrunch myself down and pretend I’m not there”) and her plucky, bold side (“I’m brave as a bear in a cave in the dark. / I wrestle gorilla. / I tickle white shark”). Digitally manipulated ink-and-watercolor pictures portray the girl doing her best to remain out of sight in company and shining when she is alone and at her effervescent best. Shyness is presented in a nonjudgmental way here, as a personality characteristic that doesn’t have to be limiting. Although the pictures are sparkling and energetic, it is difficult to ignore the girl’s impossibly long, flowing shoelaces; while an appealing stylistic touch, children accustomed to Velcro will find them distracting, and their parents will find them unsafe. This is a small detail however, and shy children will feel accepted and invigorated by the girl’s ways of accepting and mitigating her reserve. 

A lovely way to promote acceptance of introverts by themselves and others. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5303-5

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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