A soft touch of peace for a life well lived.


A full life is depicted.

Fox’s gentle prose begins with a tiny star falling from the sky. The narrator is careful to reassure readers that “this happens all the time.” In a twist expressed so straightforwardly it feels possible, the text relates that it “turned into a baby!” The interracial couple that finds the baby wraps it in a star-covered quilt. That blue, cozy blanket stays with the child, a steadfast marker for readers to follow as the child grows and changes (but is never gendered). “It grew older and older, / and older still. / And even older than that. / The longer it lived, the more it was loved.” That once-tiny star is now depicted as a brown-skinned human with straight, black hair, surrounded by family and friends. Then, as once it grew larger, it now begins to shrink, stooped over, using a walker. Depicted as a frail, smiling elderly human, it settles in to the very same chair into which the star first fell. Suddenly, all that is left is the quilt. The loved ones, all mourning, seek comfort in looking at the sky and seeing the star once again. “Every heart was lightened. / Every heart began to mend.” Grief can feel impossible, but Fox’s words whisper straight to one’s heart while Blackwood’s characteristically warm, smudgy illustrations exude warmth. A true sense of community is found within; neighbors gather, animals flock together. Blackwood and Fox embrace growth and love. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A soft touch of peace for a life well lived. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30401-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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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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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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