A wise and satisfying read.

MAGGIE'S TREASURE

Maggie collects “treasure” until her home is bursting with it, then figures out a creative way to share its joys.

People in her neighborhood think Maggie is picking up trash; her neighbor, the city workers, and even the mayor thank her for service. But when her treasure grows beyond a box to fill a drawer and then the cupboards and even the yard, people in the neighborhood begin to talk. But only when her parents have had enough and Maggie herself sees that it’s too much does she start thinking what she can do about it. She works at her idea for days and finally invites people to come take “free riches.” From her bits and pieces, she has created beautiful things, like jewelry and painted rocks, as well as useful things, like telescopes and music makers. Her neighbors come and take her creations home; they learn the value of “treasure,” and Maggie learns that she doesn’t need it all. Bright colors, lanky, stylized bodies in dramatic gestures, and pages busy with collections of objects combine to form an engaging set of pictures for young readers to pore over. While the premise of the story may give some adults pause, the gentle message, dynamic illustrations, and endearing protagonist make this title a winner. Maggie is brown-skinned like her father; her mother appears to be White. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-16.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67.5% of actual size.)

A wise and satisfying read. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77306-237-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Sweet, good-hearted fun.

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THE SOUR GRAPE

From the Food Group series

A recovering curmudgeon narrates life lessons in the latest entry in the punny Food Group series.

Grape wasn’t always sour, as they explain in this origin story. Grape’s arc starts with an idyllic childhood within “a close-knit bunch” in a community of “about three thousand.” The sweet-to-sour switch begins when Grape plans an elaborate birthday party to which no one shows up. Going from “sweet” to “bitter,” “snappy,” and, finally, “sour,” Grape “scowled so much that my face got all squishy.” Minor grudges become major. An aha moment occurs when a run of bad luck makes Grape three hours late for a meetup with best friend Lenny, who’s just as acidic as Grape. After the irate lemon storms off, Grape recognizes their own behavior in Lenny. Alone, Grape begins to enjoy the charms of a lovely evening. Once home, the fruit browses through a box of memorabilia, discovering that the old birthday party invitation provided the wrong date! “I realized nobody’s perfect. Not even me.” Remaining pages reverse the downturn as Grape observes that minor setbacks are easily weathered when the emphasis is on talking, listening, and working things out. Oswald’s signature illustrations depict Grape and company with big eyes and tiny limbs. The best sight gag occurs early: Grape’s grandparents are depicted as elegant raisins. The lessons are as valuable as in previous outings, and kids won’t mind the slight preachiness. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, good-hearted fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-304541-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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