This snazzy cautionary tale packs quite a bite (even with its tongue in the way).

WATCH YOUR TONGUE, CECILY BEASLEY

That’s right, Cecily. If you make an ugly face, it just might get stuck.

There once was a time that little Cecily Beasley was a grade-A brat. She wouldn’t share; she slurped her food; her belches—public and smirk-enhanced—were stinky. She would stick out her tongue and waggle her fingers, and she took no heed when warned her gesture might freeze just so. Sure’s shootin’, one day her tongue won't retract, and a Mockingbeak Tongue-snatcher quickly makes a nest thereupon. A doctor counsels the family not to disturb the bird, which can be as feisty and ill-mannered a customer as Cecily. She had to wait—patience not being among her virtues, either—for the eggs to hatch. Fredrickson’s salute to the risks of bad manners is gladdening and admonitory in all the right, playful ways. When the Tongue-snatcher hatchlings stick their collective tongues out at Cecily, it makes for a fair rebuke. Fredrickson also has her share of fun with the dexterity of her rhymes: “It’s a Mockingbeak Tongue-snatcher, rude and tenacious. / They roost on the tongues of the loud and audacious.” Then there are Davis’ illustrations full of fruity, tropical color and theatrical line work; they are spot-on in catching Cecily in her predicament—the sheer misery of having a tongue as big as a mature sea cucumber.

This snazzy cautionary tale packs quite a bite (even with its tongue in the way). (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-7089-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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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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Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle...

THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING

Making things is difficult work. Readers will recognize the stages of this young heroine’s experience as she struggles to realize her vision.

First comes anticipation. The artist/engineer is spotted jauntily pulling a wagonload of junkyard treasures. Accompanied by her trusty canine companion, she begins drawing plans and building an assemblage. The narration has a breezy tone: “[S]he makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” The colorful caricatures and creations contrast with the digital black outlines on a white background that depict an urban neighborhood. Intermittent blue-gray panels break up the white expanses on selected pages showing sequential actions. When the first piece doesn’t turn out as desired, the protagonist tries again, hoping to achieve magnificence. A model of persistence, she tries many adjustments; the vocabulary alone offers constructive behaviors: she “tinkers,” “wrenches,” “fiddles,” “examines,” “stares” and “tweaks.” Such hard work, however, combines with disappointing results, eventually leading to frustration, anger and injury. Explosive emotions are followed by defeat, portrayed with a small font and scaled-down figures. When the dog, whose expressions have humorously mirrored his owner’s through each phase, retrieves his leash, the resulting stroll serves them well. A fresh perspective brings renewed enthusiasm and—spoiler alert—a most magnificent scooter sidecar for a loyal assistant.

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55453-704-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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