WOUNDED FALCONS

A powerfully, even divinely told slice of life.

The unfortunate wounding of a falcon strengthens the bonds between two young boys in Buitrago and Yockteng’s latest collaboration.

A falcon springs up from a tree branch, soaring amid blue skies and white clouds. The rock comes from below and strikes the falcon’s wing. The falcon falls to the ground below. Meanwhile, Adrián and Santiago walk away from a bad day at school. Adrián sports a black eye and a clenched fist, and Santiago, who “never has any problems,” offers companionship. The friends go to an abandoned lot, where Santiago reads and Adrián climbs a tree, from which he spots the injured falcon. Concerned, Adrián decides to nurse it back to health. At the dinner table, he asks for advice from his mom, who instead lets Adrián know that she’s heard about the bad day at school and his father “will give you what you deserve.” No luck there. Still, Adrián looks over the falcon, taking the bird to the “old man who cures bones” and feeding and caring for the bird with the help of his friend. Adrián’s time with the falcon stirs something in him, something that Santiago has known was in him all along: a big heart. In Amado’s translation, Mexico City–based Buitrago’s words maintain a detached aloofness, masquerading the story’s hints of darkness and brushes with pain in a straightforward yet lyrical tone. Overall, the text’s cinematic in scope but intimate in its compassion. Colombian illustrator Yockteng’s vivid artwork depicts a world in layers, with splatters of colors and intriguing details in the backgrounds that urge a second look. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A powerfully, even divinely told slice of life. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-456-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

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

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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