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CARAMBA

A wry twist of the adage, “If pigs could fly” and the axiom, “Be true to yourself.” Caramba looks like any other cat but he is different—he can’t fly! Taunted by the other cats, his many attempts all fail so he gives up, wondering what is wrong with him. One day his cousins Bijou and Bug give him a flying lesson by holding his paws between them as they fly, and Caramba experiences the thrill of soaring in the air. “Don’t be a scaredy cat,” they cry as they let go, and Caramba flies—straight down into the ocean where he glides through the water, which feels just like flying: Caramba could swim! Airy, wavy watercolor, pencil and pastel illustrations blithely detail the trouser- or dress-wearing cats. Gay’s fluid lines and style, similar to her Sam and Stella books, are what make the quirky story appealing. Adults may wonder why the cat is named Caramba—there’s seemingly no rhyme or reason—but kids won’t care; they’ll enjoy his flight of discovery. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-88899-667-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2005

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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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BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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