DON’T GO!

The thrill of the first day at preschool and all its attendant worries (for parent and child) are addressed in this compassionate tale. When Daniel sets off, he experiences some trepidation about leaving his mother for a strange new environment. The title phrase soon becomes his mantra as he resolutely clings to his mom. However, with steady reassurance and few strategic comfort items from home, Daniel eventually joins the group. Shortly thereafter, he is able to bid a somber, but tearless, goodbye. A day of play and blossoming friendships leads Daniel to discover the more pleasant aspects of preschool. Zalben’s (To Every Season, not reviewed, etc.) honesty and pragmatic tone will put young readers at ease. She addresses Daniel’s emotional upheavals without an excess of fanfare, neatly blending his sadness and wariness with intriguing tidbits about preschool life and the prospect of new friends. Readers who do not ease into transitions smoothly will find encouragement in Daniel’s dilemma and his resolution of it. Included at the end are a “Checklist for First Day at Preschool,” a note from the editor called “Getting Ready for Preschool,” and a cookie recipe. Zalben’s bright watercolors feature a cast of appealingly anthropomorphic animals; Daniel’s mother is a suit-clad, sneaker-wearing elephant, while his classmates are a hippo, cat, and pig. The juxtaposition of familiar animals with very human scenarios is at once comforting and comical. A terrific tale to take the sting out of first-day-of-school separation anxieties. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-07250-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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TEN LITTLE FINGERS AND TEN LITTLE TOES

A pleasing poem that celebrates babies around the world. Whether from a remote village or an urban dwelling, a tent or the snow, Fox notes that each “of these babies, / as everyone knows, / had ten little fingers / and ten little toes.” Repeated in each stanza, the verse establishes an easy rhythm. Oxenbury’s charming illustrations depict infants from a variety of ethnicities wearing clothing that invokes a sense of place. Her pencil drawings, with clean watercolor washes laid in, are sweetly similar to those in her early board books (Clap Hands, 1987, etc.). Each stanza introduces a new pair of babies, and the illustrations cleverly incorporate the children from the previous stanzas onto one page, allowing readers to count not only fingers and toes but also babies. The last stanza switches its focus from two children to one “sweet little child,” and reveals the narrator as that baby’s mother. Little readers will take to the repetition and counting, while parents will be moved by the last spread: a sweet depiction of mother and baby. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-206057-2

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2008

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SAY HELLO!

Today Carmelita visits her Abuela Rosa, but to get there she must walk. Down Ninth Avenue she strolls with her mother and dog. Colorful shops and congenial neighbors greet them along the way, and at each stop Carmelita says hello—in Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and more. With a friendly “Jambo” for Joseph, a “Bonjour” at the bakery and an affectionate “Hey” for Max and Angel, the pig-tailed girl happily exercises her burgeoning multilingual skills. Her world is a vibrant community, where neighborliness, camaraderie and culture are celebrated. Isadora’s collaged artwork, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, contains lovely edges and imperfections, which abet the feeling of an urban environment. Skillfully, she draws with her scissors, the cut-paper elements acting as her line work. Everything has a texture and surface, and with almost no solid colors, the city street is realized as a real, organic place. Readers will fall for the sociable Carmelita as they proudly learn a range of salutations, and the artist’s rich environment, packed with hidden details and charming animals, will delight readers with each return visit. Simply enchanting. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-399-25230-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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