Next book


Joyful and memorable.

A whimsical homage to imaginary play and friendship.

The child narrator, who has light brown skin and wavy dark hair, proclaims, “I am a meadow mermaid.” This tot is a creative, playful sort who dreams of visiting the sea. Despite living on landlocked plains, the meadow mermaid splashes in puddles, cavorts through “waves in the wheat,” and, wearing a blanket that evokes a mermaid tail, uses a seashell to listen to sounds of the ocean. Pairing well with the lyrical text, the illustrations, photographs of cut-paper dioramas, have a three-dimensional quality, the overall warm palette punctuated by the blue of the sky and, in many spreads, the child’s denim overalls. It’s a happy, solitary existence (except for a pet cat who appears on various spreads) until midway through, when text reads, “I listen for the music of a mermaid a million miles away and hear the shout of a…shipwrecked sailor?” The meadow mermaid encounters Milla, a child who has light skin and a blond ponytail. The children are immediate playmates, searching for treasure, gazing at “seahorses” (horses), eating “cookies shaped like sand dollars,” and becoming fast friends. An immensely satisfying conclusion reveals that Milla is “a prairie pirate.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Joyful and memorable. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9780735271371

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

Next book


Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Next book


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

Close Quickview