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A BIG JUICY EARTHWORM

From the Katarina's Small Wonders series

A juicy, entertaining charmer.

There’s nothing friends can’t accomplish together.

Chicken pals Pipo, Bud, and Kenny create ingenious playthings from found objects: A box becomes a pirate ship; a bag becomes a kite. Above all, they love being together. One day, they find half a watermelon. While Bud and Kenny immediately start devouring the succulent fruit, Pipo is more interested in the nearby earthworm whose head temptingly rises aboveground. But, as hard as Pipo pulls, he can’t dislodge it. Finally, Pipo uses a fishing rod to yank it out: success! Except…this worm’s no worm. Pipo’s actually extracted a bootlace attached to a huge boot, which turns out to be a jolly plaything. (Sharp-eyed readers will spot something very interesting peering from the boot’s hole.) Meanwhile, Bud and Kenny have been closely observing Pipo’s activities from the now-empty watermelon rind, to which they’ve added inventive touches. The friends, realizing they miss each other on this hot day, reunite and, pulling out their most creative (and wettest) stops, devise their best project yet—“something the whole neighborhood could enjoy.” Originally published in the Czech Republic, this joyous romp about friendship and cooperation is a comic delight. Kids will savor both the narrative and the winning illustrations and the endearing, adorable characters; they’ll also marvel that the friends’ found objects seem always to be readily handy.

A juicy, entertaining charmer. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9788000070841

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Albatros Media

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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ADDIE ANT GOES ON AN ADVENTURE

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade.

An ant explores her world.

Addie Ant’s ready for adventure. Despite some trepidation about leaving the Tomato Bed, where she lives with her aunt, she plucks up her courage and ventures forth across the garden to the far side of the shed. On her journey, she meets her pal Lewis Ladybug, who greets her warmly, points the way, and offers sage advice. When Addie arrives at her destination, she’s welcomed by lovely Beatrix Butterfly and enjoys an “ant-tastic” helping of watermelon. Beatrix also provides Addie with take-home treats and a map for the “Cricket Express,” which will take her straight home. Arriving at the terminal, Addie’s delighted to meet another friend, Cleo Cricket, whose carriage service returns Addie home in “two hops.” After eating a warm tomato soup dinner, Addie falls asleep and dreams of future exploits. Adorable though not terribly original, this story brims with sensuous pleasures, both textual and visual. Kids who declare that they dislike fruits or veggies may find their mouths watering at the mentions and sights of luscious tomatoes, peas, beans, watermelons, berries, and other foodstuffs; insect-averse readers may likewise think differently after encountering these convivial, wide-eyed characters. And those flowers and herbs everywhere! The highlights are the colors that burst from the pages. Addie’s an endearing, empowering character who reassures children they’ll be able to take those first independent steps successfully.

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade. (author’s note about ants) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781797228914

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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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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