The charm in Harper’s Miles books doesn’t get old—children using their imaginations, directing their own play, and showing...

MILES TO THE FINISH

Highly imaginative preschooler Miles is back, this time competing winningly with his friends in a car race.

Readers first met Miles in his debut, Miles to Go (2010), in which he “drove” his foot-powered car, Flintstones-style, to his preschool and parked it next to his classmates’ rides. This time, the students at his school are taking a race lap around the playground, but there’s some stiff competition—new student Indie has a Speedster 660, an electric car. Lined up at the start line, Indie’s engine “vroom”s while the other racers tap their feet. Go! From there, onomatopoeia and simple sentences describe the intense action of the race: “Miles takes the lead early. Watch out! Rough track ahead! // Screeeech! Miles escapes the three-car pileup.” But these preschoolers seem to be more concerned about being kind than being fast. All cheer; Miles backs up to check on Otto when he spins out; when Indie’s car sputters, Miles considers taking the easy win but makes a better choice; the victor shares the prize. Winning is not about being fastest. As in the first book, Harper mixes block prints with mixed-media collage, adding interesting patterns and textures to the illustrations, and a map on both endpapers shows the racecourse around the playground.

The charm in Harper’s Miles books doesn’t get old—children using their imaginations, directing their own play, and showing empathy and kindness for all. What could be better? (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5562-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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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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