Though the happy ending is far from hard-won, cat fanciers and dog lovers will be pleased nonetheless.

CAT & DOG

Pretty pictures and a feel-good plot combine to create a pleasant, if not especially compelling, tale.

Cat, her three kittens, an old dog and an unnamed fisherman make up the cast of characters. Apparently strays, Cat and her family live under a bridge in an urban center (also pictured on the front endpapers). Colorful graffiti on the bridge supports offer greetings in a variety of languages as well as some mild in-jokes. (“Super Frog” is the title of a previous work, “Poppy” and “Scout” are, presumably, the pets to whom the book is dedicated, and other names are probably those of friends or relatives.) The action is straightforward and the tone, conversational. Cat, in search of fish to feed her family, gets trapped in a truck. An old dog ambles along looking for a place to sleep, briefly considers eating the kittens and then decides not to. Cat comes back from her unexpected seaside trip to find that her kittens and the dog have bonded. As always, the illustrations by veteran author-illustrator Foreman are attractive and atmospheric. Soft watercolor washes are particularly effective in the beach scenes (back endpapers included), but even the gritty city offers pink and yellow sunrises and starry blue skies overhead.

Though the happy ending is far from hard-won, cat fanciers and dog lovers will be pleased nonetheless. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5124-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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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 straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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