Readers won’t care whether it’s about letters or numbers—they will be too busy poring over the artwork and laughing.

READ REVIEW

123 VERSUS ABC

On a scale from one to 10, what’s your favorite color of the alphabet?

This book can’t decide whether it is a number book or an alphabet book—literally. Its anthropomorphized letters and numbers argue over which is more important for readers to learn—numbers that “count and measure and add and subtract” or letters that enable readers to “spell and read.” As they prepare to duke it out, their facial expressions (eyebrows, eyes, lips, teeth and tongues) and white-gloved fists and jabbing fingers speaking volumes, one alligator arrives. The number 1 and the letter A each use this as evidence to support their own case. As proof for both continues to crowd (literally) the pages, the letters and numbers begin to take things in stride. By the end, they present the letters from A to Z and the numbers from one to 26 as a team, concluding that, “This is a book about Numbersand Letters”…until the last page reveals a new character. “I’m a little lost. I’m supposed to be in a book about colors.” Boldt’s digital illustrations are zany enough to pull off the plot. Pointy numbers vie with rounded letters, while the animals that arrive are cartoonishly realistic-looking (though their actions and accessories are anything but).

Readers won’t care whether it’s about letters or numbers—they will be too busy poring over the artwork and laughing. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-210299-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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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 slight addition to a seasonal collection redeemed by its striking illustrations.

GOODBYE WINTER, HELLO SPRING

A dialogic approach to the turn of the seasons.

A young child, with beige skin and dark hair, and a white dog walk through the darkened, snowy countryside. They greet the snow and the winter night; a frozen pond and an empty nest; and even a glass house. Each in turn answers back, offering insight into their experience of the chilly atmosphere. Following a wordless spread that serves as a pictorial climax, the season shifts toward spring, with increased sunlight, warmth, melting snow, and the renewed presence of songbirds and flowers. The world has come to life again, and the child and dog run through green fields sparsely patched with retreating snow. The contrasting color palettes and geometric shapes in the accumulating spreads effectively evoke the stark darkness of winter and the bright warmth of spring. Ground-level and bird’s-eye perspectives of the rural setting and tiny details reward eagle-eyed readers. The rapid change from nocturnal winter storm to bright, green spring day seems a bit contrived, underscoring the book’s premise of transition and metamorphosis. Moreover, the child’s conversation with the natural world at times leaves readers unclear of who is speaking, which may cause confusion during a read-aloud. This is the third book in Pak’s seasonal cycle.

A slight addition to a seasonal collection redeemed by its striking illustrations. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-15172-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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