There are lots of vehicle-themed alphabet books, but very few are as all-inclusive as this one is. Despite the one flaw,...

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LET'S GO ABC!

THINGS THAT GO, FROM A TO Z

Here’s another ABC devoted to “Things That Go.”

What gives this transportation alphabet a leg up are the animal characters that act out the scenes. Many of the vehicles that represent the letters are familiar, such as an airplane, a bus, a helicopter, a Jeep, and a limo. Others are more unexpected: dog sled, gondola, “EMS Truck,” quad bike, unicycle, “eXpress Train,” and zeppelin. The rhythmic, rhyming text is related in first-person voice by each of the vehicles highlighted, while a cast of (mostly) animals rides along. Though not a seek-and-find book, per se, details add additional items coordinated to the letters to look for. A parrot drives a police car as a panda holds a pencil and a pad of paper, for example. On the spread featuring the letters M and N, a mustachioed (and helmeted) mouse rides a motorcycle with a map sticking out of its back pocket, while a narwhal, newt, and, possibly, nuthatch ride a narrowboat. (Unfortunately, there is no legend in the back to identify objects and characters, so the little brown bird in the narrowboat may have caregivers looking through their field guides or just giving up.) It’s the interactions among the cast of animals that generate the fun in the full-spread illustrations.

There are lots of vehicle-themed alphabet books, but very few are as all-inclusive as this one is. Despite the one flaw, this book soars. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3509-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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A slight addition to a seasonal collection redeemed by its striking illustrations.

GOODBYE WINTER, HELLO SPRING

A dialogic approach to the turn of the seasons.

A young child, with beige skin and dark hair, and a white dog walk through the darkened, snowy countryside. They greet the snow and the winter night; a frozen pond and an empty nest; and even a glass house. Each in turn answers back, offering insight into their experience of the chilly atmosphere. Following a wordless spread that serves as a pictorial climax, the season shifts toward spring, with increased sunlight, warmth, melting snow, and the renewed presence of songbirds and flowers. The world has come to life again, and the child and dog run through green fields sparsely patched with retreating snow. The contrasting color palettes and geometric shapes in the accumulating spreads effectively evoke the stark darkness of winter and the bright warmth of spring. Ground-level and bird’s-eye perspectives of the rural setting and tiny details reward eagle-eyed readers. The rapid change from nocturnal winter storm to bright, green spring day seems a bit contrived, underscoring the book’s premise of transition and metamorphosis. Moreover, the child’s conversation with the natural world at times leaves readers unclear of who is speaking, which may cause confusion during a read-aloud. This is the third book in Pak’s seasonal cycle.

A slight addition to a seasonal collection redeemed by its striking illustrations. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-15172-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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