Hooray for these young friends who work together; this diverse crew will have readers looking forward to more.

HAVE NO FEAR!

From the The Fix-It Friends series

Seven-year-old Veronica teams up with friends to help solve classmate Maya’s problem, launching a series.

When Maya, a little girl with East Asian features in Dockray’s accompanying illustrations, can’t enjoy recess, the little white girl discovers the problem: Maya is deathly afraid of bugs, which ruins the best part of the day. Veronica tries a variety of strategies to coax her friend out, but each “solution” seems to add to the problem. Clowning around to elicit a laugh results in the dumping of a can full of charity pennies onto the floor. A fake spider at lunch has Maya screaming in alarm, which sets off a flurry in the cafeteria that ends with the principal on her backside when she slips on her soup. A real solution is found when Veronica observes her baby sister adjusting to her fear of the vacuum with gradual exposure. Her counselor mom helps come up with baby steps to try. Since 7- and 8-year-olds are often struck by fears and anxiety, this book fills its niche perfectly. Wise adults help the youngsters form reasonable solutions, but the kids are the ones who act on the solutions in a respectful way. The daring inclusion of the word “butt” suits Veronica’s trenchant voice and will summon both giggles and gasps.

Hooray for these young friends who work together; this diverse crew will have readers looking forward to more. (Fiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-08584-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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