A superior revision.

A unique parody of an iconic, cumulative, rhyming nonsense song.

An attractively decorated bowl is full of peas of varying hues, one of which sports big, round eyes, a huge mouth, and stick arms and legs. The pea exclaims, “I am SO hungry!” The following double-page spread sets up a pattern of the pea swallowing various comestibles—beginning with a brussels sprout—while on the next spread, the text details just what the pea has eaten, in a precise, easily memorized litany that ends each successive verse with, “Without a doubt, / he swallowed a sprout. / What’s that about?” Each colorful spread adds another item to the pea’s ever-hungry stomach, as well as new verbs, such as noshed and gobbled. As in some versions of “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” the gluttonous pea eventually meets his demise—in this case, via the princess from a well-known fairy tale. The vivid, entertaining visuals continue as the grumpy, tan-skinned princess observes the damage done by the pea’s eating and drinking binge and then retires to a pile of mattresses made lumpy by the engorged pea who lies beneath. For readers familiar with both stories, the ending is much funnier than either tale on its own—although it also stands alone. The careful scansion replication allows readers to sing the text as a refreshing replacement of other versions.

A superior revision. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781536231328

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023


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 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016


Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on...

Continuing from their acclaimed Those Shoes (2007), Boelts and Jones entwine conversations on money, motives, and morality.

This second collaboration between author and illustrator is set within an urban multicultural streetscape, where brown-skinned protagonist Ruben wishes for a bike like his friend Sergio’s. He wishes, but Ruben knows too well the pressure his family feels to prioritize the essentials. While Sergio buys a pack of football cards from Sonny’s Grocery, Ruben must buy the bread his mom wants. A familiar lady drops what Ruben believes to be a $1 bill, but picking it up, to his shock, he discovers $100! Is this Ruben’s chance to get himself the bike of his dreams? In a fateful twist, Ruben loses track of the C-note and is sent into a panic. After finally finding it nestled deep in a backpack pocket, he comes to a sense of moral clarity: “I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers—then mine—was gone.” When he returns the bill to her, the lady offers Ruben her blessing, leaving him with double-dipped emotions, “happy and mixed up, full and empty.” Readers will be pleased that there’s no reward for Ruben’s choice of integrity beyond the priceless love and warmth of a family’s care and pride.

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on children. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6649-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Close Quickview