One unique picture book with much to say equals quite a lot.

ONE IS A LOT (EXCEPT WHEN IT'S NOT)

This Canadian import creatively explores concepts of a lot and a little, enough and not enough, through a seemingly simple story set in a lush, green park in summertime.

Each page or spread of the story includes a brief, declarative sentence beginning with a numeral: 0, 1, or 2. For example, “1 sun is a lot.” A frisky squirrel finds that one huge oak tree or one acorn is a lot. But two acorns can be too much to hold onto. For two children walking their dogs in the park, two leashes are too much when those leashes become tangled. This pair of children meet and become friends, sharing one umbrella and playing with a ball. One has brown skin and black, curly hair; the other has light skin and brown hair swept back in an unusual style. One acorn falls into a puddle as the children play, and over the concluding pages, that acorn sprouts and grows into an oak tree. In the final spread, the two children are now a grown-up couple with a child and dog of their own, having a family picnic under the tree that grew from just one acorn. Other people in the park include children and adults of different races. The thoughtful, minimalist text offers subtle insights into perceptions from different viewpoints as well as opportunities for discussion and interpretation. Appealing illustrations with the look of watercolors capture the humor of the situations in the park and smoothly convey multiple secondary plotlines.

One unique picture book with much to say equals quite a lot. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0013-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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