Kindness begets kindness and pays it forward: a timely, urgent message for all ages.

LITTLE BOOK OF KINDNESS

Kindness makes the world go round—and makes it better.

Spare text speaks meaningfully about how small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness can make big differences, both in others’ lives and in one’s own. Imported from Belgium and the Netherlands, this slim, compact offering, just the right size for little hands, says just the right things about the myriad ways one can be kind, all enacted by a sweet, young pig in a yellow jersey and shorts. An act of kindness is stated on a verso page with a wordless illustration facing it, followed by a double-page illustration showing the consequences of the kind act. For instance, the admonition “Offer a smile” faces an illustration of a dejected rabbit; the accompanying spread depicts the pig greeting the rabbit with a big grin and then a cheery, smiley rabbit continuing on its way. The simple, sweet illustrations, rendered in black and white with judicious pops of color, are fine conversational springboards; lapsitters and kids in group read-aloud sessions will enjoy interpreting what’s happening in the pictures. Some require a bit of thought; the pig looking dismayed at a wheeled trash can with a bit of litter next to it suggests a story that is upended with the turn of the page and its retrieval of a black kitten from within the can.

Kindness begets kindness and pays it forward: a timely, urgent message for all ages. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-60537-533-5

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 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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