Would that all children could greet their own monsters with this much aplomb.

ONE LITTLE MONSTER

What starts as one little monster on a child’s windowsill quickly gets out of hand.

To give credit where it’s due, the child handles the situation with remarkable self-possession. “I’m cozy in bed, and what do I see? // 1 little monster staring at me. / I say to myself, / What harm could it do? / I only blinked once… // But now I see 2!” Page turn by page turn, the monsters continue to add up, gross-out humor arriving with No. 3, a green, mucous-y one sneezed out of monster No. 2, and with No. 5: “One cuts the cheese.” But when the count reaches 10, the monsters have a new look in their eyes and postures: fear. This 10th creature is different from the others, lacking the clean, sharp lines of the rest. In fact, it looks distinctly like a sock puppet with drawn-on, staring eyes and scowling mouth. The clever child gets to enjoy that cozy bed at last…at least until monsters populate dreamland. The bold, simple shapes and bright colors of Gonyea’s digital illustrations are clear when the monsters are few and obviously, uh, monster-shaped. But as the pages fill with oddly shaped blobs, some of which lack even facial features, it becomes increasingly difficult to parse the illustrations, especially when they are close-ups.

Would that all children could greet their own monsters with this much aplomb. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0674-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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Chilling in the best ways.

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CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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