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From the Fancy Nancy series

Frothy and fun, Nancy’s latest adventure feels as fresh as her first appearance.

Given the obvious opportunities, it’s remarkable that it took O’Connor and Glasser eight years to place their pulchritudinous picture-book phenom into a wedding-themed tale—but the wait was worth it.

The setup is simple: Nancy’s uncle is getting married, and the whole family is invited. The fact that the wedding is in two weeks might give readers a clue that it’s not exactly a formal affair, but Nancy immediately assumes that: a) it will be very fancy; and b) she’ll be the flower girl. A tackle box packed into the car along with the luggage provides a second clue to the true nature of the event. Nonetheless, the author and illustrator treat readers to a vision of opulence and elegance as the family arrives at a grand hotel and celebrates in style. Turns out that’s just a dream, though, and the ultimate destination is actually a lakeside cabin. Though Uncle Cal and his fiancee, Dawn, have their own ideas about how to get hitched, Dawn is savvy enough to accept a loan from Nancy that adds a certain over-the-top element to her ensemble and satisfies Nancy’s ever present urge to make the world more beautiful. Appealing, expressive illustrations complement the text’s cheerful tone and help to keep the sweet story from becoming saccharine.

Frothy and fun, Nancy’s latest adventure feels as fresh as her first appearance. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-208319-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2014

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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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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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