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From the Jane Yolen's Eeny Series series

A reminder that happiness derives from adapting to what might once have seemed strange.

Hot chocolate wins over strong opposition.

Eeny, the youngest of three mole sisters who live in a hole deep underground, is the only one of her siblings who dares venture “Up Above.” Eeny loves the newness and surprises of the world outside. Her sisters distrust anything different and warn her about dangers, especially humans, but she remains undeterred. Her description of something new and unimaginable—hot chocolate—makes her siblings swoon with horror. When Eeny can’t rouse them, she resorts to drastic measures: She travels Up Above, pours hot chocolate into acorn cups given to her by a human she’s befriended known only as “the Boy,” and returns home. (Only the Boy’s light-skinned hand is seen.) The beverage’s delectable aroma awakens the sisters, who bravely taste it, albeit not from their familiar hole. (They do appreciate that it’s dark like their hole.) When Eeny explains where it’s from, the sisters faint again, though they love it and want more. Eeny performs a sneaky maneuver that proves hot chocolate—or anything new and different—can move anyone out of their comfort zone. This thin but cute story and the colorful, lively illustrations are as sweet and cozy as a chocolate drink. Kids will admire Eeny’s pluck and be glad her sisters learn to broaden their horizons somewhat, demonstrating the importance of accepting change and becoming more open-minded.

A reminder that happiness derives from adapting to what might once have seemed strange. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9781623717056

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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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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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

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