Young readers are advised: Wait and read the original instead.

An homage to L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

A picture book “inspired by Anne of Green Gables” could have intriguing possibilities—and there are legions of Anne fans worldwide already primed to love anything Anne. But therein lies the problem. The narrative’s storyline, and therefore its relevance, relies on readers’ knowledge of events in the middle-grade Anne of Green Gables book—an improbable occurrence for readers (unless they are nostalgic adults) of this picture book. Channeling Anne’s legendary imagination—so brilliantly created by Montgomery in her book—author George attempts to string the essence of various chapters of Anne of Green Gables into a sort of stream-of-consciousness Anne-ness, but she succeeds only in presenting a disembodied saccharine-ness. The repetitive “Anne with an e,” so important to her character development in the novel, becomes tedious in 40 pages. Godbout’s pastel-and–colored-pencil artwork infuses the double-page spreads with a visual delicacy created by the pairing of a sophisticated palette with a filmy execution style. While the full-color illustrations are well designed and offer a good variety of perspectives, their diaphanous atmosphere has the effect of further saturating the narrative’s already rose-colored reverence and gives the whole an overall effect of oozing in treacle. While the author’s sincere admiration of Anne shines through, this execution drowns in sentimentality.

Young readers are advised: Wait and read the original instead. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77049-928-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020


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


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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