Like Ruby, Benji, and Guy, readers will want to share Blocks! (Picture book. 2-4)

READ REVIEW

BLOCKS

A cleverly simple book builds skills as well as towers.

Ruby, a dark-skinned, dark-haired child wearing red, has red blocks, while Benji, a white boy clad in blue, has blue. Once introduced in bold mixed-media illustrations set against empty white backgrounds, they engage in parallel play and build separate towers with their respective blocks. Ruby is on the verso and Benji on the recto, with the gutter neatly separating them—except for an errant red block that barely sneaks onto Benji’s side. With the next page turn, Benji takes a red block, and Ruby looks on, aghast. After she watches him walk away, the next double-page spread shows the children in a furious tug of war across the gutter that sets them up for the next chaotic spread. They’ve now pulled apart and tumble onto opposite pages amid a storm of blue and red blocks. Once they gather themselves they notice they both have blocks of each color, and they build a big blue and red structure together. That could be a fine end to the picture book, but Dickson has more in store: a page turn shows Guy, a young black boy clad in green, pulling a wagon with green blocks. “What will they do now?” asks the final line of text, leaving possible answers open for readers to speculate on.

Like Ruby, Benji, and Guy, readers will want to share Blocks! (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8656-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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