I'M GLAD THAT YOU'RE HAPPY

Plants are pretty but passive, and it’s doubtful many readers will find them meaningful stand-ins for parenting.

A smiling plant narrates its life story, beginning the day that it is potted.

It is a happy moment when Mr. Florist holds a big green plant who shares its pot with a smaller plant. They live an idyllic existence in a flower shop filled to overflowing with many beautifully colored blooms. Customers happily sniff their ways through the selections. Then there’s more joy as a man with a garden takes them home, one that is filled with other plants and with many paintings of even more plants. They, the plants, are not passive observers but share in the good times and the bad. Then comes change—necessary but so traumatic. The smaller plant needs more space for its own roots. It is a move for the better, and once it’s done the bigger plant is oh so happy. Their future is full of birds singing and children playing. Perhaps this is a story about how to grow plants, but more likely it’s intended as a parable about parenting, nurturing, and letting go while maintaining bonds. The Iranian-born author and artist, who now lives in Canada, tells her tale of child-rearing with a positive and fairly glowing feeling of all-around goodness. She uses pastels, colored pencils, and collage in an impressionistic palette that gives her words an almost dreamy setting. Her characters are all white.

Plants are pretty but passive, and it’s doubtful many readers will find them meaningful stand-ins for parenting. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77306-122-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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

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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