Yet another outing that will have readers empathizing with and maybe emulating Love Monster.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE SCARY SOMETHING

From the Love Monster series

The lovable red monster is back, this time facing something all young children will find familiar: nighttime noise fears.

Even though it’s “past bedtime o’clock” in Cutesville and Love Monster has gone through his bedtime routine, he’s still awake, and the harder he tries to sleep, “the later and darker and spookier it got.” (His clock marvelously marks off, at 12, 3, 6, and 9 respectively, “Bedtime,” “Late,” “Dark,” and “Spooky.”) He can hear the clock ticking, the wind in the leaves, the owls. But what’s that rustle? It seems to move from the yard to downstairs, and the bang certainly means that it has gotten inside! Now he can hear its “terrible, twisterly toenails” on the floor, then coming up the stairs. Love Monster just can’t take it anymore. “Somehow, hiding from THE SOMETHING outside…got harder than finding something brave INSIDE.” A fling of the covers and a flick of the flashlight reveal another Cutesville resident who couldn’t sleep and didn’t want to be alone. Snuggles, conquering fears, and, finally, sleep bring the night to a close. Bright’s text and her illustrations perfectly capture the terrifying, compounding fear of being alone at night, hearing an unfamiliar noise, and jumping to wild conclusions. The mostly full-page spreads play up Love Monster’s fears and feelings, and Bright uses light and darkness to good effect.

Yet another outing that will have readers empathizing with and maybe emulating Love Monster. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-34691-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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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Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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