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LION, LION

Sly, dark humor for little ones—at its best.

Readers must pay careful attention to both the words and the pictures in this quirky, humorous book about a boy who is shouting out, “Lion!” and a lion who is hungry.

The benign expression of the enormous, cartoonish lion on the cover and the fearless stance on the smiling boy, who looks to be African-American, standing nearby are excellent clues to young readers that this will be a humorous tale, with a relatively harmless carnivore. Even so, the lion looks quite menacing on the title page and on the first double-page spread, as he emerges from behind a building to see the boy shouting, “Lion!” Readers are meant to feel befuddled when the lion asks the boy, “What are you doing?” and the boy says, “Trying to find Lion.” The underlying feeling of unease continues when the lion leans in, eyes intent, and tells the boy “I’m looking for lunch.” Readers will be confused, and then delighted, as they observe why the lion, offered some luncheon choices, thinks that grass is too snappy, mushrooms too prickly and berries too stinky. The grand joke comes at the end, when the clever boy forces the lion to sneeze, and there is another play on the same theme on the very last page.

Sly, dark humor for little ones—at its best. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-227104-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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