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BAT AND SLOTH HANG AROUND

From the Bat and Sloth series

A rough start to both a friendship and a series.

A fruit bat and a two-toed sloth slowly make friends in this opening volume in an early reader series.

As the sun sets, readers meet Bat, who is sleeping upside down in a rainforest. When he awakens, he’s unpleasantly surprised to find another animal in his tree: “This is my branch!” The newcomer is in favor of sharing, though, and Sloth introduces himself—slowly, of course. Sloth sees the two as similar, but Bat points out all their differences. In the next chapter, the two enjoy fruit together before unsuccessfully playing some games. Tag clearly is not a game in Sloth’s wheelhouse, and when Bat hides, Sloth falls asleep before he can count to 10 and begin seeking. In Chapter 3, each of the new friends saves the other from calamity and is a hero. The final chapter features an accident, some reluctant apologizing, and forgiveness. The Level 2 reader uses brief chapters, short sentences, easy words, and a bit of repetition to strengthen beginning readers’ skills. Braun’s illustrations focus on the branch the new friends share, a soft blue sky and deep green in the trees highlighting the fact that the animals are nocturnal. The book’s weak spot is character development. In both the pictures and the text Sloth seems adorable and sweet while Bat comes off as a rather brash friend. Readers may not want to spend more time with him.

A rough start to both a friendship and a series. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0585-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2018

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