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THE TOWN OF TURTLE

Though thoughtful, thought-provoking, and filled with engaging language, this allegorical tale may struggle to find an...

A solitary turtle creates a community atop his shell.

According to the lyrical text, “Turtle lived in a part of the world as empty as a bird’s nest in December.” The accompanying double-page illustration, created in acrylic, paper, and pencil collage, shows a small gray planet, about 10 times larger than the turtle perched on it, floating in a dark sky surrounded by a sea of stars. With only his shadow to talk to, Turtle is lonely. He spends most of his time inside his shell, dreaming of a happier life. Having pictured a “better home,” he resolves to build it. Across several pages, Turtle (somewhat disconcertingly) slips out of his shell to paint, construct, and expand an elaborate environment on it. Blocky shapes, occasional splashes of vivid color, and unusual juxtapositions create a dreamlike quality that suits the fanciful premise. As he rests from his labors, new residents appear. “A painter, a sailor, and a ballerina came first.” These anthropomorphic animals are followed by an array of others representing an eclectic variety of occupations. A gatefold that requires a 90-degree turn of the book shows Turtle’s delight when he wakes to discover the town atop his shell is inhabited, but the resolution may seem less than satisfying since the turtle and the new arrivals don’t truly interact.

Though thoughtful, thought-provoking, and filled with engaging language, this allegorical tale may struggle to find an appreciative audience. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-74982-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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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THE CURIOUS WHY

From the Magical Yet series , Vol. 2

Why not? Fun, cheery, and entertaining: just the ticket for the perennially inquisitive—or perpetually bored.

In this follow-up to The Magical Yet (2020), a child finds an antidote to apathy.

Talk about ennui! The red-spectacled, brown-skinned, dark-haired young protagonist is listless and bored. The little one has tried everything: the computer, toys…YAWN! But as the rhyming narration bounces along at a sprightly clip, a visitor arrives at the door. It’s the Curious Why, who resembles a flowery, leafy artichoke. The Curious Why ushers the child along on an inspirational path to great fun and tremendous learning. “You’re only bored if you choose to be,” says the Curious Why. There’s an enormous world out there just waiting to be explored by anyone who’s willing to be a “knowledge-collector” and a “gotta-know creature.” In other words, kids should ask questions about everything going on in the world. Where does the Why go for answers to these queries? The library, of course! On the next spread, we see the protagonist reading a book atop a winged prehistoric creature while dinosaurs mill about in the background. Other kids explore their passions, too; one uses a telescope to study the stars, another bakes, and another learns about bees. DiTerlizzi offers youngsters an upbeat, sensible cure for a serious case of the blahs; it’s not necessarily guaranteed to work, but it’s definitely worth a try. Readers will love the colorful, energetic, swirling digital illustrations, especially those dinos. Background characters are diverse.

Why not? Fun, cheery, and entertaining: just the ticket for the perennially inquisitive—or perpetually bored. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780316500142

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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