Gentle and wise—especially as a read for foster parents.

HOME FOR A WHILE

A child in foster care benefits from his foster mother’s patience and care.

Calvin (who presents as White with light skin and curly brown hair) has his guard up when he arrives at the home of his new foster mother, Maggie (who appears in the illustrations as a woman of color with brown skin and even curlier, darker hair). The narration doesn’t provide a backstory to explain how and why he came to Maggie’s home, but it does identify it as “another house,” which suggests this isn’t his first foster placement. Calvin doesn’t want to unpack, and he feels both unwanted and anxious about starting at a new school. Maggie wisely gives him space and respects his rejection of hugs. She also responds patiently when Calvin acts out destructively, redirecting his behavior and modeling calming breathing techniques. In time, Calvin accepts Maggie’s affection and seems to internalize her affirming statements. Ultimately, the book is as much a model for foster parents as it is a story to provide validation of foster children’s experiences, though Calvin’s final statements that Maggie is “like a mama bear” and “like no one I’ve ever met” (this latter phrase echoing Maggie’s oft-repeated affirmation of Calvin’s specialness) may come across as somehow denigrating his Mama, who is depicted lovingly on earlier pages. Maggie and Calvin’s dialogue is color-coded, purple for Maggie and red for Calvin, with narrative text in black. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.3% of actual size.)

Gentle and wise—especially as a read for foster parents. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3187-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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Penfold and Kaufman have outdone themselves in delivering a vital message in today’s political climate. Let’s hope more...

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ALL ARE WELCOME

A lively city school celebrates its diversity.

Front endpapers show adult caregivers walking their charges to school, the families a delightful mix that includes interracial, same-sex, and heterosexual couples as well as single caregivers; the rear endpapers assemble them again at the conclusion of a successful schoolwide evening potluck. In between, the rhyming verses focus on aspects of a typical school day, always ending with the titular phrase: “Time for lunch—what a spread! / A dozen different kinds of bread. / Pass it around till everyone’s fed. / All are welcome here.” Indeed, this school is diversity exemplified. Several kids point to their home countries on a world map, and some wear markers of their cultural or religious groups: There’s a girl in hijab, a boy wearing a Sikh patka, and a boy in a kippah. A rainbow of hair colors and skin tones is in evidence, and children with disabilities are also included: a blind boy, a girl in a wheelchair, and several kids with glasses. What is most wonderful, though, is the way they interact with one another without regard to their many differences. Kaufman’s acrylic, ink, crayon, collage, and Photoshop illustrations bring the many personalities in this school community to life. “You have a place here. / You have a space here. / You are welcome here.”

Penfold and Kaufman have outdone themselves in delivering a vital message in today’s political climate. Let’s hope more people, starting with this picture book’s audience, embrace it. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-57964-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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