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When the day is just waiting be filled with fun, one of the “things to do” may well be to share this with some children.

In rhyming text, a child imagines the furtive joys of a range of anthropomorphized concepts and objects.

“Things to do if you are DAWN / shoo away night. / Wash the eastern sky with light. / Wake the sleeping sun: / Rise and shine!” After pecking for breakfast on the lawn, a bird might stretch its wings “on the brightening sky.” Magliaro’s approach is poetic but not particularly systematic, although that makes it winningly childlike. The series of “if you are”s also includes an acorn, a honeybee, a snail, the sun, the sky, an eraser, a pair of scissors, rain, boots, an orb spider, crickets, and the moon. The poetry is graceful, with key words set in uppercase and descriptors in varying typefaces evoking the moods. Chien’s brushy-textured acrylic illustrations convey the breezy feelings that make the musings soar, employing diaphanous layers that lend a fuzzy, dreamlike feel. Effective page compositions vary perspectives to make the images sway in the breeze. The orb spider spread, with the light-skinned dreamer’s face behind a web, is aesthetically striking. Wearing a hat and pants, the child is not identified as a girl, but the patterned endpapers depicting a child in a dress imply gender. A sidekick dog adds another touch of whimsy.

When the day is just waiting be filled with fun, one of the “things to do” may well be to share this with some children. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1124-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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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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Unusual illustrations enhance an engaging, informative narrative.

What can a worm do?

A little worm sets off on a “twirl” to “see the world.” But when it overhears a human referring to it as “just a worm,” its feelings are hurt. The worm asks other critters­—including a caterpillar, a spider, a dragonfly—what they can do. After each answer (turn into a butterfly, spin silk thread, fly), the worm becomes more and more dejected because it can’t do any of these things. “Maybe I am just a worm.” But then the worm encounters a ladybug, who eats aphids and other insects, and the worm realizes that it eats dead plants and animals and keeps gardens clean. And though the worm can’t pollinate like the bee, it does create castings (poop) that help plants grow and stay healthy. These abilities, the worm realizes in triumph, are important! The cleverness of this story lies in its lighthearted, effective dissemination of information about various insects as well as earthworms. It doesn’t hurt that the expressive little worm is downright adorable, with emotions that will resonate with anyone who has felt unimportant. The stunning illustrations are done in quilled paper—a centuries-old technique that involves assembling strips of colored paper into shapes—which adds sparkle and originality. A tutorial of how to make a quilled butterfly and a page on earthworm facts round out the book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Unusual illustrations enhance an engaging, informative narrative. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-06-321256-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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