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A thoughtful, educational lesson for animal lovers.

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A girl realizes her new pet frog belongs in a pond in this picture book.

Six-year-old Becky is thrilled when her parents finally allow her to get a pet. On a family trip to the mountains, Becky enjoys visiting a pond where she sees and hears various critters (“Bzzzzzzzzz; Ribbit; Quack, Quack!”). Becky decides to bring a frog home. She thinks: “He’ll be such a cool pet…better than a dog!” Becky names him Gideon and keeps him in a box. But Gideon doesn’t acclimate and becomes listless and sad. Becky is perplexed until her dad explains that the frog is an amphibian and “should be in his pond, free to leap high and swim!” Though disappointed, Becky realizes Gideon probably misses his home. She returns him to the pond and watches as he is embraced by fellow frogs. Becky will miss Gideon, but she knows she did the right thing. With her relatable protagonist, Lonczak delivers an essential lesson, emphasizing the importance of leaving animals in their natural habitats where they can thrive. The author also includes a note about “Frog Endangerment.” Dimitrovska’s illustrations are colorful with a hand-drawn quality, offering shadows and textures. The light-skinned Becky is shown in a variety of circumstances, including spending time outside and with Gideon. The images of nature are serene and detailed, and the depictions of critters, mainly frogs, are friendly. Some pages feature a pattern of greenery, bubbles, tadpoles, and frogs.

A thoughtful, educational lesson for animal lovers.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-578-51549-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: IngramSpark

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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