A LULLABY OF SUMMER THINGS

Readers familiar with beach vacations will close the book feeling nostalgic for their own ocean days.

As a little girl and her family settle down for the night, various objects remind the girl of their happy day at the beach.

“In the twilight blue,” a brown girl with very curly hair runs toward what appears to be a vacation beach home along with her siblings, father, and dog, as her mother waves at them from the house. With each step of getting ready for bed (“Bare feet skipping. / Wet towels dripping”), the girl is reminded of an aspect of “the beach that day— / the sea so cool, the waves at play.” That last couplet becomes a repeated refrain, modulating slightly to adapt to each new scenario. Three siblings and two parents, all of various skin hues and hair textures, say goodnight, while the family dog falls asleep on the floor. The final spread shows the house with a view from the water: “Ocean breezes sigh / your favorite summer lullaby.” The text is simple and lyrical, recalling beach-centered vacations in a way that is accessible to the youngest of children. While the cartoonlike stylings of the characters are friendly and approachable, they come across as a surprising match for the poetic text; still, the palette of purples and yellows, with breaks of ocean blues, is soothing for a bedtime read.

Readers familiar with beach vacations will close the book feeling nostalgic for their own ocean days. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93552-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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