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A radiant tale of adventure and friendship.

A boy on land and a girl at sea overcome language barriers to become friends.

A girl wearing a white, wide-brimmed hat steers a boat, worry across her face. “I’m lost.” A boy in a red-orange cap holding a conch shell on a string stares out at the sea. “Soy náufrago.” She sees land and heads toward it. He spots the boat, hoping for a friend rather than a foe. As each child notices the other, their mutual trepidation leads to an unexpected initial encounter. “AAAAAAAH!” “¡AAAAAAA!” Both children, however, soon realize they have nothing to fear. Amid island backdrops brimming with rich blues, greens, and oranges, the girl and the boy take tentative steps toward one another. A problem: She speaks English; he speaks Spanish. To communicate, the girl and the boy explore the island and share a little of their worlds. Eventually, the children voyage off the island in the boat, but a sudden storm splits them up. Will the friends reunite? Restrained and spare but potent text whips up an exceptional tale of kinship, where English and Spanish words often converge in meaning. Montalvo’s watercolor, gouache, and graphite artwork brims with verve, leveraging unusual perspectives, thoughtful frames, and vivid tones that culminate in a sublime gatefold. The girl reads as white, while the boy has light brown skin and is cued Latine.

A radiant tale of adventure and friendship. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781250246721

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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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 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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