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A beautifully illustrated poem that speaks of every child’s complex, imaginative character.

A young child’s affirmation of their potential in the world.

On the opening spread, a parent drives a well-packed car along a road at twilight, with two children in the back seat. The following spread zooms in to show the elder one, a kid with brown skin and black hair pulled into a puffball, peering up at the moon. Rhyming stanzas capture the child’s recognition of aspects of themself in the world—bright as the moon in the night sky, loud as the waves at the shore, looking up at the sky like the flowers in the field. But, they say, “that still isn’t all that I am.” Carlin’s evocative, often impressionistic illustrations embed the child in the natural world, depicting them towering next to giant evergreens, tiny as the bunnies in their underground den, silhouetted in a tent during a storm. Carlin centers the child’s experience by painting them in color, with other family members in monotone. In fact, the palette of brilliant greens, luminous yellows, deep dark blues, striking grays, and more invites repeat viewings of each spread. Clark’s stanzas tumble along in a gentle yet powerful rhythm that begs to be read aloud slowly and savored. As the child comes to understand this elemental self, they also realize that they are yet to be—still moving along the journey of their life.

A beautifully illustrated poem that speaks of every child’s complex, imaginative character. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-970147-46-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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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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