Barclay ably captures the affection of the central relationship, though, and the ending is a genuine surprise. Heartwarming.

JOJO THE GIANT

Could little JoJo possibly win the big race?

His mother, who works very hard as a mail carrier, always tells him that "Good things come in small packages." But JoJo isn't so sure. So, he's careful to eat all his broccoli and drink his milk. JoJo has big dreams, and he wonders if he'll ever achieve them. Bullies on the corner tease him about his size, calling him a "runaway shrimp!" When Smiling Sam's Shoe Shop sponsors a big race, JoJo obsesses over the prize: a pair of red Rocket Racers. JoJo's mother worries about how desperately he wants them; though well-worn, her plain brown shoes have lasted for years. At the race, a very tall boy named Tony hams it up for reporters. The starting gun's fired; the runners are off in a blur of arms and legs. JoJo keeps up with Tony; the bullies in the stands taunt him with, "Go, Shrimp! Go!" It's a sentiment that Tony laughingly echoes—just the incentive JoJo needs for a final burst of race-winning energy. He gives the shoes to his mother, who really needs them. Melo's acrylics are bright and at their most interesting in those scenes when she plays with perspective—alas, not often enough.

Barclay ably captures the affection of the central relationship, though, and the ending is a genuine surprise. Heartwarming. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-88776-976-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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