Neither rousing nor a snore, this story still satisfies

READ REVIEW

NO MORE NOISY NIGHTS

Unexpected housemates lead to fitful nights for a new subterranean tenant.

Jackson the mole finds moving day exhausting. After unpacking his cozy underground home, he settles into bed for some well-deserved rest. However, three unexpectedly noisy and bored supernatural housemates interrupt his sleep night after night. Jackson’s inventive solutions for his problem don’t lead to silent nights, but the ruckus becomes a dull roar and at last he can sleep. Readers will wonder both how Jackson readily recognizes each rowdy offender (“There must be a pixie in the piano”) and why he doesn’t just drive them out. The passage of time seems problematic, as each offender seems active only every third night. And yet there is much to enjoy: the silly mistakes Jackson makes from lack of sleep, effective page turns that build suspense, and a predictable story structure. Soft, computer-generated illustrations will engage observant young readers keen to explore Jackson’s new home. At times, apparent variations in the resolution of different elements within the illustrations cause some elements to feel out of place. Additional inconsistencies include objects that shift position from spread to spread, and on one page, a clock seems to have three hands instead of two. It’s too bad these inconsistencies keep the artwork from rising to the level of the delightful text.

Neither rousing nor a snore, this story still satisfies . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-936261-93-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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