May teach kids that it’s OK to ask for help, but it’s unlikely to be a repeat read.

GIRAFFE ASKS FOR HELP

Gary Giraffe learns to ask for help even when he feels the task is something he should be able to do alone.

Gary has finally attained the milestone of his 6th birthday. Now he’s old enough to eat the best acacia leaves up high—but his excitement is tempered by his repeated failures to reach them. Each try finds him falling over. Tye Tickbird, Gary’s best friend, finally flies down and reminds him, “When you can’t do something all by yourself, you ask a friend or family member to help.” Gary’s friends (a cheetah, an elephant, a lion, and Tye) tell him that no matter their age, everyone needs help with something, and there’s nothing wrong in asking for it. Their solution—one weighting down a branch, two others anchoring Gary’s legs—works, and Gary gets a bite of leaves. Gary’s expression often seems static, and while McDonnell’s cartoon illustrations reflect the tale, they don’t add much beyond it aside from a cringe-inducing image of two lionesses fawning on the lion. Chikowore’s tale is both pedantic and contrived; why would giraffes (even anthropomorphized ones) base their ability to eat high leaves on age rather than height? But nonetheless, the author’s lengthy backmatter note explains how important it is that children acquire the skill of asking for help and how parents can help accomplish this.

May teach kids that it’s OK to ask for help, but it’s unlikely to be a repeat read. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-2946-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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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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