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TANGLE-KNOT

A fantastical but flawed fairy tale.

A young girl has a bird’s-nest ’do.

Fia “refuses to brush her hair,” much to her mom’s consternation. A gray bird soon takes up residence in the White-presenting girl’s scraggly, bushy coiffure. Soon the bird lays eggs—one red, one yellow, and one blue—in Fia’s “tangle-knot nest,” attracting attention, some of it judgmental but most of it encouraging, from others, including a TV crew. Fia takes good care of the nest, refusing to wash her hair in order to keep it safe, and eventually the eggs hatch into red, yellow, and blue birds. When the birds leave, Fia finally decides that it’s time for a new style, to her mother’s relief, and her shorn tangle-knot becomes a tree-bound nest. This could be a very relatable story for any child who hates running a comb through frizzy knots or who longs to have a live-in pet (or four), but the prose gets bogged down by unnecessary dialogue tags and written descriptions that are better shown through the jaunty, energetic illustrations. However, it also raises thought-provoking questions about whether a child of color would receive the same admiration if they showed up to school with an unkempt head of hair, and many children will likely get distracted wondering where the birds go to the bathroom. Fia’s mother presents White; the supporting cast is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fantastical but flawed fairy tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9781645677130

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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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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BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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