An entertaining cultural comparison for young readers.

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Bradley’s colorful illustrated book compares the everyday terms of two cousins living in different countries.

A young Canadian narrator and her Northern Irish cousin, Arlene, both “speak English but…” there are differences in the words they use for common items. The charming story begins by addressing a common statement made by children: that people from other countries “speak funny.” Bradley explains through her main character that Arlene “speaks differently” than the narrator. Each page compares two commonly used items and the word that each cousin uses for that item. Examples include: “She takes the lift to the seventh floor. I take the elevator” and “She has biscuits as a treat. I have cookies as a treat.” On the first page, the Canadian child reveals that the cousin “has an Irish accent like my mum.” Later, sports balls are shown with the Canadian flag and the Union Jack. In Canada, the game is soccer; in Northern Ireland, it’s football. Bradley infuses humor throughout, which adds nicely to the story: “My cousin wears trousers. I wear pants. She says that pants are underwear and wearing them in public is bonkers!” Young North American readers will learn “a poke and a flake” is a soft-serve ice-cream cone with a chocolate bar sticking out of it—and European readers will learn that soft-serve cones across the pond are served without candy bars. Throughout, the colorful cartoon illustrations are certain to appeal to young readers; they complement the text nicely and will add to readers’ understanding. Children will enjoy learning about and comparing differences between the two cultures, and the story ends with a family connection: “But we both say, goodnight, God bless and sweet dreams” and look forward to visiting each other.

An entertaining cultural comparison for young readers.

Pub Date: May 17, 2023

ISBN: 9781039169616

Page Count: 44

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2023


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


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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