Listeners will definitely relate to the pain of being left out; this gentle tale offers an opportunity to contemplate one’s...

CAT & BUNNY

The dedication page’s strategic placement of acorns attached to a branch—two intertwined and one, alone, sprouting in the opposite direction—foreshadows the conflict in this story of fluctuating friendships.

Looking like children in animal costumes, the peach-hued Cat and the brown-toned Bunny have been friends since they were born—“on the same day of the same month in the same year.” Pencil-and-watercolor scenes, rendered with an earthy palette against a clean white background, depict the duo daydreaming, bicycling and picnicking in a state of halcyon happiness. The Made-Up Game (their favorite) has rules only they know. One day, the game’s appealing train tracks, acorns and leaves attract the attention of Quail, who asks to join in. When Bunny warmly welcomes him, the other “creatures” follow, and Cat feels abandoned. It isn’t until an actual kitten cottons to Cat, and they devise a unique game, that she understands it is possible to enjoy more than one relationship. A final woodland scene where all play together follows organically from a simple, unforced conversation. Short sentences, often paired with several actions on a page, keep the eyes moving and the pages turning at a perfect pace for preschool attention spans.

Listeners will definitely relate to the pain of being left out; this gentle tale offers an opportunity to contemplate one’s own role in a solution. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-228780-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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A winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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