A mindful appreciation of often unnoticed delights enhanced by subtle and stunning illustrations.

TINY, PERFECT THINGS

A white grandfather and a brown-skinned, biracial child stroll through their neighborhood keeping their “eyes open for tiny, perfect things.”

Through his own appreciation, the grandfather gently shares the wisdom of being alert to everyday beauty. A leaf brought down by the wind, a glistening spiderweb, even a discarded bottle cap are worthy of wonder. Clark narrates the grandfather’s observations, utilizing simple text and a rhyme that at times feels a bit clunky. However, it is Kloepper’s exceptionally thoughtful illustrations that catapult this picture book into the realm of the truly special. The careful use of perspective is immediately clear. In one spread, yellow leaves drift down in the foreground of the page; large yards, modest homes, and diverse neighbors stretch out in the background—and in the front corner, the protagonists each stoop down in a manner congruent with their individual abilities, simply noticing a leaf. When dusk falls, the pair returns to a cozy and loving home, as evidenced by small details such as the photos on the walls and the comfortable manner in which dark-skinned dad and white mom cuddle on the couch. The final pages revisit the day’s discoveries and open to a four-page spread of the neighborhood, inviting readers to explore what tiny, perfect things they can find.

A mindful appreciation of often unnoticed delights enhanced by subtle and stunning illustrations. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-946873-06-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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