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A gentle offering that should have fully embraced its wild side.

Boy meets snuggly, and it’s love at first sight.

In this new take on the old new-baby-sibling storyline, Huser eschews the usual brother-sister–bonding plots to ask an important question: how much stuff can you physically force into a baby carrier before it explodes? When Todd’s parents return from the hospital with his baby sister, the boy is entranced by the soft carrier hanging off his father’s chest. One day Todd accidentally-on-purpose takes the snuggly (as Papa calls it) to school, where its carrying capacity is pushed to the limit. By the time Todd makes it into his classroom, his snuggly is toting a stuffed bear, a cardboard tube (it’ll make a good rocket), a book, a friend’s snack, a cat, a jar of pollywogs, and his teacher’s forgotten travel mug. Chaos ensues. Sadly, the art, done in colored pencils and inks in a gentle palette, is at odds with the book’s internal mayhem. Todd and his world (almost entirely pale-skinned save for brown-skinned Anand) would be better accompanied by images up to the task of portraying both his wonder and hubris. The concluding lesson (“A snuggly is good for just one thing. A baby…or a teddy bear”) may prove too limited a takeaway for its readership.

A gentle offering that should have fully embraced its wild side. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55498-901-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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...

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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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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