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Who wouldn’t love a book you can really laugh over?

Can reading a book ever not be fun?

The narrator, an orange aardvarklike creature, addresses readers directly, enticing them to pay close attention by announcing that this book contains sure-fire kid-favorite topics as homework, Brussels sprouts, the dentist, chore lists, raisins, and early bedtimes. Can’t miss with those page-turners. The narrator exudes feverish elation, desperate to arouse enthusiasm. Who wouldn’t savor those talking points—every child’s first choices in reading material, no? The speaker’s frenzied excitement is emphasized via creative typesetting: Some words are set in larger fonts, colored capitals, and exclamation points, and the frequent expression “Ahhhhhhhhh Yeahhhhhh!” suggests the idea “You can’t beat this for good times.” Of course, this is all played for raucous guffaws. Many children will catch on to and chuckle over the author’s obvious, sustained gag. Younger readers, however, won’t have experienced daunting homework and may not have visited a dentist yet, so they might miss the point that those things are considered fearsome; additionally, lots of kids do enjoy raisins. The real reason for loving this book is saved for last, though—and it’s a reassuring goodie. The acrylic paint, gouache, and pencil illustrations are a dynamic, comic hoot and certainly one fine reason to love this tale.

Who wouldn’t love a book you can really laugh over? (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9780374388539

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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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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Unusual illustrations enhance an engaging, informative narrative.

What can a worm do?

A little worm sets off on a “twirl” to “see the world.” But when it overhears a human referring to it as “just a worm,” its feelings are hurt. The worm asks other critters­—including a caterpillar, a spider, a dragonfly—what they can do. After each answer (turn into a butterfly, spin silk thread, fly), the worm becomes more and more dejected because it can’t do any of these things. “Maybe I am just a worm.” But then the worm encounters a ladybug, who eats aphids and other insects, and the worm realizes that it eats dead plants and animals and keeps gardens clean. And though the worm can’t pollinate like the bee, it does create castings (poop) that help plants grow and stay healthy. These abilities, the worm realizes in triumph, are important! The cleverness of this story lies in its lighthearted, effective dissemination of information about various insects as well as earthworms. It doesn’t hurt that the expressive little worm is downright adorable, with emotions that will resonate with anyone who has felt unimportant. The stunning illustrations are done in quilled paper—a centuries-old technique that involves assembling strips of colored paper into shapes—which adds sparkle and originality. A tutorial of how to make a quilled butterfly and a page on earthworm facts round out the book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Unusual illustrations enhance an engaging, informative narrative. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-06-321256-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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