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IGNORE THE TROLLS

Gets to the titular point but lacks contemporary advice.

Modern advice in a medieval setting plays on parallels between trolls, real and online.

Tim the Timid (as he’s known) has a good heart, but he yearns to be more than a boy afraid to dance with fairies. At school the bravest kids are the Knights, so that’s where he’s set his sights. Unfortunately, when tryouts are announced, Tim starts practicing only to find his embarrassing mistakes are captured by a troll’s “magic picture taker” and sent to all the kids in school. The more Tim tries to prove himself to the trolls, the worse they treat him, until he finally heeds advice from the knight Bethany the Brave that the only way to defeat them is to ignore them. Tim draws courage from her counsel, though it is unclear how this solves his initial problems of timidity, which were entirely unrelated to trolls. Regardless, his newfound strength leads him to victory. While many might benefit from the advice to ignore online bullying, it’s unfortunate that the book lacks any backmatter that might provide kids advice from an era a little more recent than the Middle Ages. Busy pages teem with images that meld the past and the present, often serving the story but sometimes overwhelming the eye. Tim presents white; Bethany has dark skin.

Gets to the titular point but lacks contemporary advice. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-57687-933-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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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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BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

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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