THE LITTLE MATADOR

A family of renowned bullfighters raises a son to carry on their glory in the ring. Unfortunately, he hates to fight and refuses to do so in the arena. Sound familiar? Of course, the last time readers heard this story it was the bull who was unwilling to fight. This mirror-version of Munro Leaf’s classic tale features a Little Matador who has one real passion—drawing. The peace-loving artist loves nothing better than to sit and draw the animals around him. He’s so good at it that he pacifies the angry bull in the ring by drawing a quite flattering portrait of the animal—and even produces a satisfying portrait of his parents after winning his battle of wills. The illustrations are wonderfully rendered, using just a few pen strokes to portray the ennui and superiority of the bullfighters. Many crowd scenes have little detail and a limited color palette. It all works. The contrasts and similarities between the Little Matador and his 20th-century counterpart Ferdinand would make for an interesting storytime. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 15, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4231-0779-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2008

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

BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

Close Quickview