JOJO THE GIANT

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

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. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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

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

Close Quickview