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THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE TOOTH FAIRY

This origin story from Spain makes just as much sense as a single tiny fairy doing all the work—possibly more.

Who could have guessed that the tooth fairy has “secret assistants”?

Weeping operatically—and looking very much like a brown-skinned, zaftig diva in Zacarias’ mixed-media (paint and cut-paper–collage) illustrations—Lady Oyster laments the loss of her only pearl: “Oh, I am very, and I mean very, so very sad.” News of the tragedy passes from a purple octopus to a French sardine (sporting the requisite beret and with a baguette under one armlike fin) to a crab and then to a mouse. This last goes in search of “something small, white, hard and shiny” to make up the loss. After discarding a button and other options the mouse finds what he needs, as readers might guess, beneath the pillow of a sleeping girl. Then, leaving a coin in exchange (“He would have liked to have left her a book, but he didn’t have one with him at the time”), he passes the tooth back down the line to a delighted Lady Oyster. “This is perfect!” Why a mouse? Because, according to an introductory note, it’s a mouse that comes for lost teeth in France, Spain, and South America.

This origin story from Spain makes just as much sense as a single tiny fairy doing all the work—possibly more. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-944446-1-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NubeOcho

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle...

Making things is difficult work. Readers will recognize the stages of this young heroine’s experience as she struggles to realize her vision.

First comes anticipation. The artist/engineer is spotted jauntily pulling a wagonload of junkyard treasures. Accompanied by her trusty canine companion, she begins drawing plans and building an assemblage. The narration has a breezy tone: “[S]he makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” The colorful caricatures and creations contrast with the digital black outlines on a white background that depict an urban neighborhood. Intermittent blue-gray panels break up the white expanses on selected pages showing sequential actions. When the first piece doesn’t turn out as desired, the protagonist tries again, hoping to achieve magnificence. A model of persistence, she tries many adjustments; the vocabulary alone offers constructive behaviors: she “tinkers,” “wrenches,” “fiddles,” “examines,” “stares” and “tweaks.” Such hard work, however, combines with disappointing results, eventually leading to frustration, anger and injury. Explosive emotions are followed by defeat, portrayed with a small font and scaled-down figures. When the dog, whose expressions have humorously mirrored his owner’s through each phase, retrieves his leash, the resulting stroll serves them well. A fresh perspective brings renewed enthusiasm and—spoiler alert—a most magnificent scooter sidecar for a loyal assistant.

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55453-704-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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