Other than the opportunity to commiserate with the children in these pages (while, one hopes, not picking up any new fears...

THE LITTLE BOOK OF BIG FEARS

Arnaldo explores some of the fears young children experience. 

In this rhyming not-quite-an-alphabet book, one child per letter and his or her fear are introduced, some imaginative, some quite real for many kids: “C is for Claire, / who recoiled from legumes. / D is for Drew, / who hid from raccoons.” Claire’s beans, soldierlike, take up forks and flaming toothpicks against her. “O is for Ophelia, / who stayed in the light. / P is for Perry, / quick to take flight.” Perry dashes by a fence that encloses three (quite friendly-looking) dogs. The rhyme and rhythm sometimes stumble—“cover” and “under”—and even the youngest listeners are sure to notice that several letters are missing, cleverly made part of the lesson: “learn from the missing letters— / to them you must look. They were / GUTSY & BRAVE / and so not in this book.” But while Arnaldo points out that fears are normal, she never gives any advice about how to get over them and be gutsy and brave, so the lesson falls flat. Large, open eyes, downturned mouths, and faces partially hidden mark these kids as fearful, and the illustrations largely show the children’s perspectives.

Other than the opportunity to commiserate with the children in these pages (while, one hopes, not picking up any new fears along the way), there is little for kids to take away from this. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-047-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back.

TINY T. REX AND THE IMPOSSIBLE HUG

With such short arms, how can Tiny T. Rex give a sad friend a hug?

Fleck goes for cute in the simple, minimally detailed illustrations, drawing the diminutive theropod with a chubby turquoise body and little nubs for limbs under a massive, squared-off head. Impelled by the sight of stegosaurian buddy Pointy looking glum, little Tiny sets out to attempt the seemingly impossible, a comforting hug. Having made the rounds seeking advice—the dino’s pea-green dad recommends math; purple, New Age aunt offers cucumber juice (“That is disgusting”); red mom tells him that it’s OK not to be able to hug (“You are tiny, but your heart is big!”), and blue and yellow older sibs suggest practice—Tiny takes up the last as the most immediately useful notion. Unfortunately, the “tree” the little reptile tries to hug turns out to be a pterodactyl’s leg. “Now I am falling,” Tiny notes in the consistently self-referential narrative. “I should not have let go.” Fortunately, Tiny lands on Pointy’s head, and the proclamation that though Rexes’ hugs may be tiny, “I will do my very best because you are my very best friend” proves just the mood-lightening ticket. “Thank you, Tiny. That was the biggest hug ever.” Young audiences always find the “clueless grown-ups” trope a knee-slapper, the overall tone never turns preachy, and Tiny’s instinctive kindness definitely puts him at (gentle) odds with the dinky dino star of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. series.

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7033-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

more