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A new perspective on the “arrival of spring” theme best suited to blond, pink-skinned readers.

Bauer’s imaginative first-person romp puts (some) readers right into the story, inviting them to journey with the animals in the moonlight to welcome spring.

Under the eaves of a homey (and nicely untidy instead of spic-and-span) house, “you,” pictured as an androgynous blond, Caucasian child, are startled by some noises and must investigate. Stepping outside, you meet a bear who says, “It is time….Come with me.” You are kept wondering what it is time for as more noises follow the first ones, and animals and plants and even the breeze join the bear’s chorus that it is indeed time. Curiosity battles fear as more and more animals join the hand-in-hand parade to an unknown destination, the noises growing ever louder. Readers may start to feel their own curiosity fading in the lengthy setup to an over-too-quickly climax: A gigantic egg cracks open to spill out all things spring. Still, the text is at times lyrical and calming: “Cold mud sucks at your feet. / The moon is ice. / Even so, traveling with a bear / is rather nice….” Shelley’s India ink–and-watercolor illustrations are charmingly detailed if ethnically limiting in their representation of “you.” His animals are gentle and friendly, and the forest is a wonderfully textured place that harbors nothing scary.

A new perspective on the “arrival of spring” theme best suited to blond, pink-skinned readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2952-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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