Next book

REAL TO ME

A friend is a friend, and while the twist is clever, the robust storytelling throughout will prove the book’s greatest lure.

The imaginary-friend trope gets turned on its head.

Told mostly in first person, this story follows a large furry green creature and a small Black girl who are engaged in a series of adventures. “When you have a great friend, the rest of the world can seem to disappear.” Together the two laugh and play, are brave together, and get in trouble. Others say that the friend is imaginary, but our narrator isn’t so sure. And then, one day, the friend is unexpectedly gone. Now it becomes clear that the narrator wasn’t the girl but the newly morose and lonely monster. “She was real to me.” In time our narrator makes friends with other creatures and once more has adventures and misadventures. Even so, the protagonist never forgets their first friend. It is a testament to Figueroa’s talents that while the main character may be furry, the heartbreak and longing they exude feel achingly real, as does the friendship at the center of the story. In the latter half of the book, Lê elegantly repeats phrases and cadences that appeared in the first half (thereby linking the new friends to the old), but it’s Figueroa’s lush, electric, pulsating hues and colors that bring the worldbuilding to life, with jewel tones depicting bright sunny days and illuminated nights. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A friend is a friend, and while the twist is clever, the robust storytelling throughout will prove the book’s greatest lure. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-37749-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

Next book

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

Next book

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

Close Quickview