An unforgettable ode to intergenerational bonds.

A girl grows up and passes on her childhood treasures to her granddaughter.

Before sunrise on her eighth birthday, Maude, a young Black girl, heads into the woods, where she buries a red tin box full of treasures beneath a dogwood tree and makes herself a promise. As she grows older—raising a family of her own with a Black, female-presenting partner—she never forgets that red tin box, but she does begin to forget its contents. Overcome with urgency one day, Maude picks up her granddaughter Eve, and, as they drive to Maude’s childhood home, Maude tells Eve about the box. Somehow, Maude knows where to dig, and together they stumble upon Maude’s simple treasures. On the drive home, Maude passes down stories and later gives Eve the treasures so that her granddaughter can make her own promise to herself. Majestic illustrations with smudgy strokes and breathtakingly vibrant hues that bleed into each other—the reds, purples, and pinks of sunset, the blues and blacks of twilight—heartwarmingly limn Maude’s love for her family and the life she has lived. Simple, poetic language engages the senses throughout this quiet, subtle celebration of familial relationships. This is the perfect read-aloud to showcase how traditions and stories are passed down to future generations and that simple items can bring the most joy along with the stories attached to them. All characters depicted are Black. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An unforgettable ode to intergenerational bonds. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7973-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023


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


Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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