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

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 24, 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...

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 Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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