A stunning tribute to Hawaiian culture and identity.

A Hawaiian girl learns the true meaning of the word aloha.

A baby girl is born on an island in the moonlight; she and the island share a heartbeat. As she grows up, she learns to be swift like the honu (turtle) and smart like the heʻe (octopus), but the island knows that there’s more for her to learn. Through the hula, a traditional Hawaiian storytelling dance, she discovers how the islands were formed. She learns about her ancestors, who traveled to these islands in mighty canoes by navigating with the stars, and about her people’s folklore, filled with heroes, adventures, and love. Finally, Laka, the goddess of hula, descends and says, “Tell the ka‘ao with pride / On these islands we live / with our lore by our side.” The child has learned to take pride in who she is and what the word aloha means—“to give love, compassion, and honor to everyone and everything around you.” Mesmerizing, metered verse combines English and Hawaiian words for a rich tale of Hawaiian history, culture, ecology, and legends. Showing a deft use of light and shadow, the vibrant images bring the text to life, with a few wordless spreads throughout. A glossary and pronunciation guide are included, with cultural context provided for the various words.

A stunning tribute to Hawaiian culture and identity. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 23, 2024

ISBN: 9781636551128

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Red Comet Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024


As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021


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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