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MANOLO & THE UNICORN

Will leave little ones reassured that the world is a magical place if they truly believe it is.

When you search for magic, you may find it.

“To Manolo, the world was a magical place.” The brown-skinned boy’s journal is flush with unicorn drawings, but what he longs to see is an “actual” unicorn. Others aren’t charmed by Manolo’s dreams. The “Wild Animal Parade” is an eagerly anticipated school event where students dress up as the creature of their choice, but Manolo’s announcement that he’ll be a unicorn is met with derision and a stinging rebuke: “Boys don’t like unicorns.” Suddenly Manolo’s world isn’t magical; dejected, he starts to believe that “Maybe unicorns aren’t real.” But then…a unicorn magically materializes, and Manolo goes for a ride, returning home with a prized souvenir from its tail: “a shimmery strand as light as air and as strong as iron.” Next morning, Manolo hurriedly prepares his splendid costume, complete with magical strand. After he tells his diverse classmates about unicorns, they urge him to lead them in a search for one. Manolo stands just a bit taller. This sweet story conveys an empowering message about being true to oneself and one’s dreams. The language is often poetic, airy, and lush, though the ending is rushed. The bright illustrations, from which rays of light seem to emanate often, are delicate and suit a tale about a magical creature. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Will leave little ones reassured that the world is a magical place if they truly believe it is. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 18, 2023

ISBN: 9781951836528

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Cameron Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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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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THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle...

Making things is difficult work. Readers will recognize the stages of this young heroine’s experience as she struggles to realize her vision.

First comes anticipation. The artist/engineer is spotted jauntily pulling a wagonload of junkyard treasures. Accompanied by her trusty canine companion, she begins drawing plans and building an assemblage. The narration has a breezy tone: “[S]he makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” The colorful caricatures and creations contrast with the digital black outlines on a white background that depict an urban neighborhood. Intermittent blue-gray panels break up the white expanses on selected pages showing sequential actions. When the first piece doesn’t turn out as desired, the protagonist tries again, hoping to achieve magnificence. A model of persistence, she tries many adjustments; the vocabulary alone offers constructive behaviors: she “tinkers,” “wrenches,” “fiddles,” “examines,” “stares” and “tweaks.” Such hard work, however, combines with disappointing results, eventually leading to frustration, anger and injury. Explosive emotions are followed by defeat, portrayed with a small font and scaled-down figures. When the dog, whose expressions have humorously mirrored his owner’s through each phase, retrieves his leash, the resulting stroll serves them well. A fresh perspective brings renewed enthusiasm and—spoiler alert—a most magnificent scooter sidecar for a loyal assistant.

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55453-704-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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