A simple story with a powerful anti-violence message.

READ REVIEW

THE HUNT

A small child creates a stone sculpture despite the repeated efforts of hunters to destroy it.

As the child positions a stone on a small pile of rocks, two adults with rifles appear, shoot the rocks, and run away. The child rebuilds, adding a large boulder. The hunters reappear, shoot the construction to pieces, and disappear. Again, the child assembles a larger rock mound and the hunters return, blast it, and flee. Undaunted, the child constructs a larger sculpture with a head and ears. Again, the hunters obliterate it. Eventually, the child creates a huge sculpture resembling a dog that rises up on its hind legs, chases the hunters, and grabs one by the shirt as the child sits triumphantly astride its back. This wordless, mystifying, repetitious encounter between destructive hunters and persevering child unfolds in a vertical page-turn format. Rendered in softly shaded colored pencil, the limited palette of grey, black, pale peach, green, and red fosters a surreal atmosphere. Appearing like cutouts against the white background, the featureless hunters and child, all pale-skinned with black hair, provide no clues. Who are these hunters, and why are they shooting the child’s sculpture? The final diagonal movement of the stone sculpture descending downward across the double-page spread adds visual drama to this cryptic battle between creativity and destruction.

A simple story with a powerful anti-violence message. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9972219-0-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Penny Candy

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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