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CRANKY

Kids will come for the construction vehicles and leave with some social-emotional skills.

Anthropomorphic trucks and construction vehicles work through big feelings.

“I’m Cranky,” announces a yellow crane—that’s our protagonist’s name and state of mind. It’s a big day at the construction site; everyone’s completing work on the construction of a new bridge. Friends like Zippy the cement mixer and Wheezy the forklift encourage Cranky to cheer up. But their positivity only makes Cranky feel worse. Cranky eats alone at lunch and feels increasingly isolated as the day goes on. When Zippy and Wheezy express concern, Cranky suddenly becomes even more upset: “Asking me what’s wrong makes me feel like it’s not okay for me to be cranky!” The others back off, and slowly, the grouchy crane’s mood starts to improve. And the friends are right there when Cranky is ready to open up. Bright colors, adorably anthropomorphic vehicles, and layouts that alternate between vignettes and full-page spreads will hold readers’ attention through what is a mostly introspective narrative. Tran imparts some solid messages, such as the importance of giving pals the space they need and communicating your needs, even if you choose not to share everything. Some of the nuance will be lost on younger readers, but the story will spark conversations with others. Construction puns such as “self-of-steam” should get some chuckles from older kids and adults.

Kids will come for the construction vehicles and leave with some social-emotional skills. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780063256286

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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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

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RUBY FINDS A WORRY

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings (. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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