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MAC & CHEESE

A FRIENDSHIP STORY THAT CELEBRATES BEING DIFFERENT

Needs more flavor.

Although their names suggest that they’re an obvious pair, Mac and Cheese are an odd couple through and through.

Anthropomorphic Cheese is an artistic fellow who thinks outside of the box, while Mac (a similarly anthropomorphic piece of macaroni) is something of an intellectual. Their differences cause them to have some misunderstandings in the three short stories (“Breakfast,” “Lunch,” and “Dinner,” natch) that make up this book, but unlike Oil and Water, who show up in the last story, they are steadfast friends. The inked and digitally colored cartoon illustrations add a lot of humor to the stories, which helps readers along when the text falters due to weak story resolutions and details that don’t always make sense. Why, for example, do two saltshakers, Salt and Salt, show up in the second story instead of Salt and Pepper? Or why is Cheese grinning happily when he spies P.B. and Jay and says “Oh no, NOT THEM!”? The dedication is to James Marshall and Arnold Lobel, whose odd-couple friends George and Martha and Frog and Toad, respectively, surely inspired Proimos’ work and the very structure of this offering; but their influence doesn’t translate into a picture book that lives up to the standards they set.

Needs more flavor. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9156-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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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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BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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