This sweet celebration of friendship is elevated by its winsome illustrations. (Picture book. 4-7)


A little mouse finds a friend in this rhyming picture book.

Little Mouseling, the youngest of many, is very small, and her many brothers and sisters often just don’t wait for her. When she pops out from under the tree where her family lives, many respond to her plea for someone to “stay by [her] side.” Unfortunately, Toad Flip likes the water (she doesn’t), and Big Squirrel Brown wants to climb (she doesn’t). Her sad tears, however, bring “a tinyful, weenimous, little black vole” to her side. They find much in common and much to share: “all the things / you can do as a two!” Gliori has created a fanciful wood of little animals that sometimes only vaguely resemble their actual counterparts; all have big eyes and lively expressions. She uses curlicues of plants, trees and tails to show movement and pattern—and joy. Mouseling’s ladybug pull-toy is a stroke of brilliance; the little black vole’s scene of singing and dancing, with his mouth open operatically wide and waving two maple helicopters in the air like banners, is another. The text is rhymed, not always felicitously, but the language is pleasing. The penultimate spread of paired-off buddies—rabbits and foxes and owls and insects—is an affectionate paean to BFFs and/or couples.

This sweet celebration of friendship is elevated by its winsome illustrations. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-81326-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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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 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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