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LUNCH BOX BULLY

From the I Like To Read series

A solid (if a bit basic) primer.

Schoolyard animals take on a bully—with lemons.

While the other animal “boys and girls” like their classmate Max (a rabbit), Big Jim (a warthog) does not. He relentlessly steals Max’s “good lunch,” making Max cry. Max’s friends encourage multiple tactics to deal with this bully. First, Max simply avoids Big Jim. The bully still takes his lunch. Next, Max buys Big Jim a lemon ice as a peace offering. The bully dumps the beverage over Max’s head (he doesn’t like lemons). Outraged, Max rushes to fight Big Jim. The scuffle is short-lived—and lands Max in the branches of a lemon tree. But Max gets a sneaky idea. The next day, Big Jim steals Max’s lunch as always, but his teeth crunch on a big, citrusy surprise (“Yuck!!!!!!!!!!”). The victory has Max coining a new adage: “A lemon a day keeps the bully away.” But what about Big Jim? With a vocabulary of around 90 words and at most five lines of text per page (eight words per line), the text maintains accessibility to beginning readers. Wilhem’s cartoony watercolors are soft against the white backgrounds, adding a friendly quality even to the tense scenes. A scripted scenario about how to deal with a real-life bully in the backmatter expands upon the story’s lessons. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 62% of actual size.)

A solid (if a bit basic) primer. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3933-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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ADDIE ANT GOES ON AN ADVENTURE

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade.

An ant explores her world.

Addie Ant’s ready for adventure. Despite some trepidation about leaving the Tomato Bed, where she lives with her aunt, she plucks up her courage and ventures forth across the garden to the far side of the shed. On her journey, she meets her pal Lewis Ladybug, who greets her warmly, points the way, and offers sage advice. When Addie arrives at her destination, she’s welcomed by lovely Beatrix Butterfly and enjoys an “ant-tastic” helping of watermelon. Beatrix also provides Addie with take-home treats and a map for the “Cricket Express,” which will take her straight home. Arriving at the terminal, Addie’s delighted to meet another friend, Cleo Cricket, whose carriage service returns Addie home in “two hops.” After eating a warm tomato soup dinner, Addie falls asleep and dreams of future exploits. Adorable though not terribly original, this story brims with sensuous pleasures, both textual and visual. Kids who declare that they dislike fruits or veggies may find their mouths watering at the mentions and sights of luscious tomatoes, peas, beans, watermelons, berries, and other foodstuffs; insect-averse readers may likewise think differently after encountering these convivial, wide-eyed characters. And those flowers and herbs everywhere! The highlights are the colors that burst from the pages. Addie’s an endearing, empowering character who reassures children they’ll be able to take those first independent steps successfully.

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade. (author’s note about ants) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781797228914

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 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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