Lighthearted, cursory look at the symbols needed to make sense of English writing.

THE DAY PUNCTUATION CAME TO TOWN

The Punctuation family has arrived in Alphabet City.

Exclamation Point, Question Mark, Comma, and Period are ready to attend school. Everyone is excited except shy Comma with his large, round, red glasses. The other siblings know their special jobs when they meet their fellow students, the alphabet letters. “But Comma? Comma tried not to get stepped on and fit in wherever he could.” The accompanying double-page illustration demonstrates each symbol’s important role: “wow” ends with Exclamation Point, “who” ends with Question Mark, “stop” ends with Period—and Comma tries to break up “ohno” but has a hard time inserting himself. (No capital letters here, as these letters are children.) The variously colored alphabet letters and the purple punctuation symbols take on singular personalities with amusing human features: pipestem arms and legs, baseball caps, hairstyles, glasses, faces, and freckles. Purple letters in the text emphasize the symbol names, although the contrast makes this fairly ineffective. As the story develops, the letters get a little rambunctious, the punctuation symbols work hard to organize them, and Comma realizes his essential place. “From now on, I’ll help keep things in order.” The story is slight, but with adult intervention, it could serve as an introductory look at punctuation in settings where the detailed, humorous illustrations can be seen up close.

Lighthearted, cursory look at the symbols needed to make sense of English writing. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64170-145-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence.

A NEW DAY

To the consternation of the other six days of the week, Sunday quits in protest, tired of being unappreciated for her consistent delivery of a weekly “beautiful free day.”

Sunday’s abrupt decision prompts the others to look for her replacement with an advertisement inviting auditions before the remaining six days. The competition quickly grows increasingly fierce as ideas are broached for DogDay, Big-BurpDay, PieDay, Band-AidDay, and, ridiculously, FirepoleSlidingIntoPoolsOfCottonCandyDay. Amid all this boisterous and frenzied rivalry, a little girl approaches the misunderstood Sunday with a small plant to say thank you and to suggest “simply a nice day. A day when people can show more kindness to each other.” The child’s humble gratitude is enough for Sunday to return to her important weekly position and to prompt all the days to value kindness as the key to each day’s possibilities. Bright art captures the mania, with cotton-candy hues representing each of the anthropomorphic days. Though undeniably comical as it unfolds in busy cartoon illustrations and speech balloons, the drawn-out, nonsensical, and unexpected course the narrative takes may be a stretch for youngsters who cannot always distinguish among days. Kindness as the ingredient for achieving a harmonious week is nevertheless a valuable message, however circuitously expressed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

A humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55424-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Adelaide and her buddy will help kids get “the whole picture.” (Picture book. 5-7)

BEARS MAKE THE BEST MATH BUDDIES

In this follow-up to Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies (2016), Adelaide and her friendly bear are back to ace mathematics.

Dressed in a sweater patterned with geometric shapes and arithmetical symbols, Bear is ready to tackle math assignments. Although her class is working on first-grade addition and subtraction, Adelaide makes far-reaching claims about Bear’s mathematical prowess. She proceeds to detail ursine creatures’ varied skills, and the brightly colored digital illustrations show Bear, with Adelaide’s help, demonstrating these. From building a treehouse using complex measurements and comparing a compass face to a watch face, they go on to simple geometry and arithmetic. When Adelaide and her friend go berry picking, he shows her how to “sort [the different fruits] into groups so they can analyze their haul and sum up their rewards.” Real-world connections are further clarified in an ice cream shop, when Bear and Adelaide get superduper cones and the tab is $12.45. (Too bad it’s impossible for clever readers to use the price board to understand how the cashier arrived at that total.) Adelaide’s statement that bears understand that “math is everywhere” clinches it for Mrs. Fitz-Pea. Adelaide presents white, Mrs. Fitz-Pea has brown skin, and the other students are diverse. While it’s a swift survey, it effectively conveys the importance of math in everyday life.

Adelaide and her buddy will help kids get “the whole picture.” (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68446-079-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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