Even for the anti-confectionary crowd, a believable, relatable story that avoids a saccharine conclusion.

A windfall of candy creates a philosophical dilemma for a kindhearted young girl.

When Alice wins the school raffle, she receives "a basket of lollipops so big, the principal pulled it onstage in a wagon.” She wants to share it with her classmates, but the elation of winning this sweet prize gives way to stress when it becomes clear that there may not be enough lollipops for everyone. Predictably, some students try to curry favor and sympathy with Alice, reminding her of their past acts of kindness toward her and regaling her with sob stories; "You're my only hope for candy till Halloween," one kid says mournfully. Other kids advise her to exclude certain students from her provision, claiming that the kindergarteners are too young to handle lollipops and suggesting that the new kids could be overlooked since Alice doesn’t know them very well. As the clamor grows, Alice has to make some hard decisions and learn that you can't please everyone. Luckily, the candy crisis works itself out so that there are more than enough sweets to go around…but what to do with the leftovers? Maynor's writing is flavored with wit and wrapped in moral subtleties. Player's retro-styled illustrations tie the hues of the lollipops to the children's colorful attire but never go overboard; there's plenty of drama around the crushing candy saga without overplaying the visuals. There is some racial diversity to Alice’s classmates, and one child uses a wheelchair. Alice reads as White.

Even for the anti-confectionary crowd, a believable, relatable story that avoids a saccharine conclusion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37256-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021


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


From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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