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BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS...

The friendship is saved with a simple apology, but Oscar’s snit leaves a trail of broken pieces.

A malapropos laugh gives Oscar a case of the grumps.

We meet Lanthier’s young protagonist, a little black boy named Oscar, as he dismantles a number of erstwhile fun projects: the Scientific Experiment of Glorious Doom, the Indestructible Fortress of Fiendishness, the Epic Battle of Giant Robots Versus Alien Insects, and so on. Each eradication is preceded by “By the time you read this, our…” and finished with” “will be terminated,” “will be destroyed,” “will be over,” respectively. Armageddon. Kaboom! It is a mystery what has gotten Oscar into such an existential huff, and a couple of his furies are doomed in their own right: he can’t deny access to the elevator; he can’t keep other kids off playground equipment. And it is difficult to join Oscar in his dudgeon, Storms’ merry, color-drenched artwork is so upbeat. As the last few pages reveal, it turns out that the cast on Oscar’s forearm is the result of a skateboarding accident that looked to his friend Sam, who appears to be Asian, like a jolly pratfall. Hence the laughter. Hence the steam. The delay in connecting the dots is too long here, and readers may tire of it. Furthermore, was a basketball needed to cause Oscar’s spill? There is a board game on the underside of the jacket that will either give the story away or, if readers check this book out of the library, be missed altogether.

The friendship is saved with a simple apology, but Oscar’s snit leaves a trail of broken pieces. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-988347-05-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clockwise Press

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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

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CLAYMATES

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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