Ideal for sharing with sibling pairs about to be parted by the first day of school.


From the Maple series

Two sisters must adjust to being apart when one starts kindergarten.

Nichols’ pencil and digitally colored illustrations perfectly convey just how close Maple and Willow are—they even sometimes use pig Latin to communicate. The two spend the whole summer together, but they play especially hard the day before the Monday that Maple boards the school bus. Bereft, Willow doesn’t quite know what to do with herself without her best friend. That afternoon, she’s assaulted with a (not unkind) verbal barrage of all the exciting events of the first day at school, Maple’s nose in the air, as if bragging. But as the week wears on, Willow learns to explore on her own and use her imagination to entertain herself, even gaining a new best friend: Pip, an acorn. And as Willow tells Maple about her own day, Maple’s excitement wanes; though she likes school, she misses her sister, who sweetly finds a way to include Maple in what she is missing at home. Spot, full- and double-page illustrations with white backgrounds keep the focus on the girls and their relationship. Willow’s footie pajamas, overalls, and high pigtails emphasize that she is younger than her sister, as do the girls’ activities—Maple rides a two-wheeler, while Willow sits astride a branch with one end bent like handlebars.

Ideal for sharing with sibling pairs about to be parted by the first day of school. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16753-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones.


What’s better than a cheerleading chicken?

Are you ever blue, unsure, tired, or overworked? Do you ever feel lost or overwhelmed? This uplifting book, expressed in delightful, jaunty verse, explains how to lift your spirits pronto: What you need is a booster chicken telling you’re doing great even when you’re not so confident, as when you’re learning or practicing a new skill, for instance. Your feathered champion will be right there, encouraging you all the way, with a loud “WOO HOO!” that’ll keep you going and remove any doubt you’re super terrific. But what if your cheerful chick errs and doesn’t do what it set out to do? Don’t worry—your cheery chicken just needs a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. That alone is a pep talk, enhanced by the wisdom that making mistakes allows everyone to learn and demonstrate they did their best. So forgive yourself, chickens! But the best thing is…instead of relying on someone else—like a chicken—to strengthen your ego, say a generous daily “WOO HOO!” to yourself. This riotous book hits all the right notes and does so succinctly and hilariously. The energetic, comical illustrations, in Boynton’s signature style, will elicit giggles and go far to make the book’s important point. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-48679-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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