A sweet, magical tale with a tender life lesson.

THE CANDY DISH

A little girl receives a very special gift, but she is not entirely satisfied.

When the pretty covered dish appears, the girl lifts its lid and finds one piece of candy. It is absolutely delicious, making her feel like the freedom and playfulness of a summer day. Of course she now wants more, but the lid will not open again no matter how she tries. She doesn’t feel fortunate to have received this gift—only upset that she can’t have more candy. The next morning she is surprised when the box easily opens to reveal a new piece of candy, even more delicious, filling her with playful joy. But the frustration of the day before returns as she unsuccessfully, even violently, attempts to get another piece of candy. The third day sees her planning to throw the box in the trash in utter defeat, but the lid once again opens, and she is gifted with another candy. But this time she reacts differently. From the beginning the narrator lets readers know that this girl is both unique and just like any other child. As the tale unfolds there are gentle admonishments about the girl’s sense of entitlement and the absence of gratitude or appreciation. When she finally understands her amazing gift, she delights in it and realizes that each piece of candy is like each day of her life, to be savored gratefully. Lirius’ lovely and ethereal illustrations bring Yamada’s loving philosophical lessons to life. The girl has loose, dark curls and light-brown skin; overall, the palette is dominated by blues, yellows, and browns.

A sweet, magical tale with a tender life lesson. (Picture book/fantasy. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-970147-59-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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