Kids enjoying the intricate visuals won’t worry that the story doesn’t make much sense.

THE FLEATASTICS

It’s “the greatest show on dogs!”

Born on a drowsy basset hound, Sarafleana is a natural jumper. Snoozer the hound is actually home to a community of fleas; his pelt even boasts its own acrobatic troupe, The Fleatastics. Sarafleana and her siblings easily impress Mr. Itchy, the troupe’s leader, and Sarafleana seems destined for the tippy-top of the Parasite Pyramid. But that would mean staying still, and she doesn’t want to. Earning acclaim as “THE HIGHEST-JUMPING FLEA EVER” is her dream. One morning when Snoozer is at the dog park, the flea circus packs up and parachutes to Sparky, a dog napping nearby. As the crew sets up the circus tent and the hot dog stand, Sarafleana secretly practices. The circus begins, and Sarafleana’s siblings build their pyramid. She goes to the top, planning to impress everyone with her jumping. But, inexplicably, she can’t leap. The show continues and is at its fleanale when a child in the audience calls out for “another TREAT!” Uh-oh. Sparky perks up and starts to scratch, threatening the flea circus. Sarafleana becomes a hero by jumping all over and shouting “Treat,” distracting Sparky and allowing everyone to flee to safety. Desimini’s story is more than a bit disjointed, but her universe of fleas delights with boundless imagination and pockets of hilarious flea dialogue, vivaciously depicted.

Kids enjoying the intricate visuals won’t worry that the story doesn’t make much sense. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62979-303-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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