A delightfully funny and warmhearted friendship tale.


A mermaid’s friends find a way to include her in a soccer game in this picture book.

Six friends of various races love to hang out together in a clubhouse and play tabletop or video games: James, the story’s narrator; Eric; Duran; Santiago; Bran; and Kris, the only girl, who also happens to be a mermaid. After the clubhouse ceiling falls down, the cohorts turn to outdoor games, but Kris can’t manage them; in football, for example, “when tackled, she slips twenty yards.” When a rival crew shows up and challenges them to soccer, James insists that Kris won’t just cheer from the sidelines: “She’s in, and she’ll play, and we’ll win!” Hanging from the goal’s top pole, Kris uses her powerful tail to block almost every ball, handing her team a decisive victory. Kolding tells his story in rollicking verse that scans and rhymes well, with some amusing nonsense, such as the game of “Flurmasmic Pageezans.” In addition, the book teaches a subtle but effective lesson about inclusivity and friendship. The characters might be older than the intended audience, with James planning to take Kris to a dance, but readers are unlikely to mind. The uncredited digital illustrations have kinetic verve that matches the text’s energy.

A delightfully funny and warmhearted friendship tale.

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2020


Page Count: 27

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2020

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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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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.


From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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