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MEOW IS NOT A CAT

An appealingly offbeat book with a strong message about appreciating unusual thinking.

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A creative youngster solves a field-trip problem in this picture book about valuing what makes a person unique.

A human child doesn’t know exactly why everyone calls them Meow: “Maybe it’s because I get bored easily,” they say, like a cat does. Meow’s snarky, unnamed feline thinks it might be because of Meow’s hat, which has catlike ears. Meow’s teacher, Ms. Snickety, believes that Meow doesn’t listen; “I just listen differently,” Meow explains. On a field trip to see wildlife, the teacher gives each child a banana to offer monkeys, who take every single banana—until Meow, who believes that “sharing is caring,” takes the fruit back in an epic chase and eventually uses a cannon to fire the fruit skyward so everyone can have one. Tills offers a celebration of kids whose brains work differently. Meow is coded as neurodivergent, though it’s never discussed in such terms; the idea that Meow approaches things differently than others do, though, comes through clearly. The author uses short sentences and accessible vocabulary in Meow’s first-person narration, which feel authentic. Saladrigas’ cartoon-style, full-color art perfectly matches the text’s whimsical tone, even incorporating an imagined duck and dinosaur into Meow’s adventure. The iconic yellow cat-hat adds an extra level of expression with changing ear positions.

An appealingly offbeat book with a strong message about appreciating unusual thinking.

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73670-048-8

Page Count: 44

Publisher: FDI Publishing LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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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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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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