As the future of Katie and Jennifer's friendship remains unknown, this is for readers who are confronting loss or shifts in...

FLABBERSMASHED ABOUT YOU

The third Katie Honors entry (Sometimes I’m Bombaloo, 2002; Jibberwillies at Night, 2008) again traverses critical emotional territory, though the visual and textual quality don’t match the topic’s importance.

The plot is simple: Katie’s best friend plays with someone else at recess; Katie feels furious and wounded until she makes a new chum herself. Although Katie boasts about her own social dabbling (“I like to play with everybody, and they all like to play with me, too. I go on lots of playdates”), and although Jennifer never implies that their friendship’s over, powerlessness and loss of routine do sting. Unfortunately, the artwork is too stilted and static for the roiling emotions and theme about change. Composition varies, but despite interesting white space between figures and background, the vibe is stiff. Even when Katie imagines screaming, Heo’s geometrical shapes look balanced and regular. When Katie does yell, her eye becomes a spiral, and the visuals finally match the mood. Text changes type, color and size, in a way that feels not playful but instructional and provides volume levels. Description of Katie’s old and new pals waxes sentimentally adult: Jennifer’s “smile is as bright as the morning sun in your eyes,” Arabella’s “smile [i]s gentle like the afternoon sun between the leaves.”

As the future of Katie and Jennifer's friendship remains unknown, this is for readers who are confronting loss or shifts in friendship. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-61345-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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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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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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