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SANDCASTLES ARE FOREVER

Building friendships takes time and effort, but it’s fun and worth it. So is this book.

Sand castles don’t last long, but true friendship does.

Every day is a beach day for Cora and Shelly, two besties who live on the shore. After school, they suit up and head to the beach to build elaborate sand castles. Their constructions require “the right tools…loads of patience, and a good sense of humor.” Oh, and readiness to rebuild. But friendships, like sands, shift. One day, Shelly excitedly announces that she’s moving to the city to live with her mom. To Cora, it sounds like Shelly won’t miss anything—not even Cora. Over the next few days, Cora declines Shelly’s invitations to meet. Cora confides in supportive Mama, who explains that friendships resemble sand castles: “With the right tools—and some rebuilding—who’s to say they can’t last forever? The pals reassert their powerful bond and, even when they’re eventually separated, discover they have “the right tools” (stationery), “loads of patience” as they wait for the mail, and a “good sense of humor.” The best tool? They’re willing to rebuild. Kids should understand the sand castle–friendship metaphor in this sweet story. They’ll root for these pals and feel heartened at their ability to forge a lasting bond. The colorful digital illustrations are lively, and readers will admire the sand castles. Dark-haired Cora appears to be East Asian, while blond Shelley presents white.

Building friendships takes time and effort, but it’s fun and worth it. So is this book. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

ISBN: 9781250845689

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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 MOST MAGNIFICENT THING

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle...

Making things is difficult work. Readers will recognize the stages of this young heroine’s experience as she struggles to realize her vision.

First comes anticipation. The artist/engineer is spotted jauntily pulling a wagonload of junkyard treasures. Accompanied by her trusty canine companion, she begins drawing plans and building an assemblage. The narration has a breezy tone: “[S]he makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” The colorful caricatures and creations contrast with the digital black outlines on a white background that depict an urban neighborhood. Intermittent blue-gray panels break up the white expanses on selected pages showing sequential actions. When the first piece doesn’t turn out as desired, the protagonist tries again, hoping to achieve magnificence. A model of persistence, she tries many adjustments; the vocabulary alone offers constructive behaviors: she “tinkers,” “wrenches,” “fiddles,” “examines,” “stares” and “tweaks.” Such hard work, however, combines with disappointing results, eventually leading to frustration, anger and injury. Explosive emotions are followed by defeat, portrayed with a small font and scaled-down figures. When the dog, whose expressions have humorously mirrored his owner’s through each phase, retrieves his leash, the resulting stroll serves them well. A fresh perspective brings renewed enthusiasm and—spoiler alert—a most magnificent scooter sidecar for a loyal assistant.

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55453-704-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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