The uncomplicated format and artwork make this a sweet mindfulness exercise.


When does a house become a home?

A perky little house is festooned with birds in the morning and stars at night. The window over the pale blue door is as round as the full moon shining brightly in the night sky. The little house is rained upon and snowed upon, and throughout all of this the text refers to it as simply “the house.” Questions prompt readers to talk about the house and what’s around it. But despite the inviting white clapboard siding and the rose tiled roof, the house sits quite alone on its green, flowerless lawn. Round windows, rectangular doors, sunny days, rainy days—nothing seems to be what it takes for the great transformation. Wait, is that a dog? Look, a cat! They’re heading toward the house, and they’re not alone. Five human figures, three tall, two small, and all reminiscent of Playskool toys, enter the house. Soon there are flowerpots by the door, flowers in the garden, and faces smiling through the window—a home! Caldecott and Legacy winner Henkes has put together a charmingly and deceptively simple interactive book that helps young readers identify shapes, delve into the concept of counting, and recognize meteorological phenomena. The soft colors and gentle questions serve to invite participation rather than coerce it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The uncomplicated format and artwork make this a sweet mindfulness exercise. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-309260-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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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 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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