Next book


Sure to be a staple in classrooms everywhere.

Sophie gets really, really discouraged.

Bang’s latest offering about blonde, white, emotive Sophie promotes a growth mindset as it details her shift from discouragement to perseverance. While the expressive style of Bang’s vibrant, gouache paintings will be familiar to those who know the previous Sophie titles (When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry…, 1999, etc.), this story seems more text-heavy than its predecessors. This difference isn’t detrimental to the book, however, which begins with a hurtful experience at home. This causes Sophie to adopt a fixed mindset that she isn’t smart enough to succeed in school when her teacher presents a math problem. Sophie’s friends also struggle, and then their teacher introduces them to “the Most Important Word…YET. You haven’t figured it out…YET.” These interactions take place in a classroom populated by diverse students and led by a black teacher, and with her encouragement, Sophie and her classmates keep working to solve the problem in their own ways. The resulting shift to a growth mindset makes them believe they can make progress in their learning. Their teacher celebrates their success at the book’s end, and then Sophie brings her newfound confidence home and uses it to help her father work through a project that’s stumped him. Like the Little Engine before her, Sophie now thinks she can, and that makes all the difference. Bang explains the concepts and her collaboration with educator Stern in an author’s note.

Sure to be a staple in classrooms everywhere. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-15298-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

Next book


Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Next book


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

Close Quickview