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COUNT YOUR CHICKENS

There is so much feathered fun here, it’s pure poultry in motion.

Unfolding in short, bouncy rhymes, this atypical counting book fills its pages with a flock of chickens enjoying a day at the county fair.

What distinguishes this counting book is that the number of chickens to count on each double-page spread is neither simple nor sequential. There are chickens everywhere, reminiscent of Richard Scarry, with as many as 35 or more chicks, hens, and roosters on the pages. They ride the Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, toss balls at the dunk tank and teddy bear booth, and cheer at the grasshopper-tart contest. The rhymes go down easy: “Chickens on the Ferris wheel / shriek with laughter, scream and squeal. / Chicken sister cannot speak— / cotton candy in her beak!” While the short rhymes relate the action, the boisterous chickens take center stage. Digitally colored pencil illustrations use small, simple shapes to describe the chickens, but they are individually dressed in a broad range of fair attire: plaid shirts, jeans, vests, frilly dresses. The chickens are depicted in a wide range of plumage colors, and details in the clothing make it possible to follow some chicks across pages. Visual puns will make adults giggle: the Dixie Chickens perform onstage, as do the Blues Brothers. Backmatter has a simple quiz with answers, but there is no key listing the actual count of chickens per spread.

There is so much feathered fun here, it’s pure poultry in motion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77049-792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 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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