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This story rocks.

A rock wants to rock his world.

Rick, a specimen residing on the Nature Finds shelf in Classroom 214, dreams of life outdoors after hearing the teacher describe the power and importance of rocks in nature. The acorn, the moss, and the bark who sit on the shelf with Rick try to convince him simply to stay with them, but Rick is bored with his sedentary existence; he wants adventures! Cleverly figuring out how to escape life as a mere shelf sitter, Rick finds himself outdoors among others of his kind but soon learns their lot isn’t so hot (though their existence was the result of very hot circumstances—exploding out of volcanos)—nor is it exciting or dangerous. In fact, it’s dull and lonely. Luckily for Rick, a student rescues him, returning him to his shelf and grateful pals. Rick has a rock-solid epiphany: Life in Room 214 is more rewarding than he’d realized. This sweet, gentle tale reinforces for children the reassuring idea that it’s OK to try new things and explore new paths, but it’s equally OK, not to mention comforting and important, to return to familiar territory. The charming digital illustrations, many set in panels, are delightfully expressive and deeply appealing; young readers will appreciate the costumes worn by the inhabitants of the Nature Finds shelf, presumably concocted by the students, who are racially diverse. One child wears a hijab. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This story rocks. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9464-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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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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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