A well-illustrated work with a wonderful moral about finding joy in accepting others.

THE EVERYBODY CLUB

A youngster founds a club that aims to include everyone in Loewen and Hayen’s picture book.

An unnamed girl invites some friends (and the reader) to join her Everybody Club. She gives them all a simple badge and encourages them to invite others. “Tell them all: / You’re a member. / It’s official. / The Everybody Club is beneficial!” There are images of a boy using a motorized wheelchair, several girls wearing headscarves, and another boy wearing a kufi cap. Multiple same-sex couples are shown, some with their kids. (The narrator is depicted as White, and other characters have a variety of skin tones.) The group gathers to build a float, which they enter in a parade. Finally, everyone in town joins the procession in a spread showcasing Zybina’s soft, warm, and appealing pastel illustrations. The story, based on a real club started by Hayen’s late daughter, presents rhymes that are simple, engaging, and fun—“A parade of everybodies! / A jolly jamboree! / The Everybody Club / turns THEY to WE”—and the overall message of how great it feels to be inclusive is sweet without ever feeling cloying.

A well-illustrated work with a wonderful moral about finding joy in accepting others.

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73652-870-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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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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