A clever look at tolerance and understanding.

WELCOME TO BOBVILLE

CITY OF BOBS

In a town where everyone looks the same, individuality finally shines.

In Bobville, everyone is named “Bob” (according to their nametags), and everyone looks exactly the same. Striped shirts stretch over rotund bodies, noses flop, and skin and clothes are drab in grayscale shades. Every Bob does the same thing as the next Bob—they eat the same food, think the same thoughts, indulge in the same hobby (playing accordion, of course), and dream the same dreams at night (watching paint dry). They have heard of suspicious others who are not named Bob but see those only on the news. One day, one intrepid Bob wakes up and decides instead to be called “Bruce.” Bruce gets a new, very colorful wardrobe and steps outside. The town is appalled. They immediately ostracize the “Person Formerly Known as Bob,” quickly building a wall to keep Bruce out forever (and any other errant “not-Bobs,” too). Luckily, Bruce just might find a new, more accepting community, after all. Aptly named Staake fills the art with sly asides: a sign that states “Curb Your Bob,” a supermarket shelf filled with Bob-related cereals, and a “Bobhound” bus, to name a few. Background colors in Bobville are muted to pastel shades; the other side of the wall is splashy, diverse, and bold.

A clever look at tolerance and understanding. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12272-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

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 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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