Ally is an empathetic guide for young children facing their own first days, no matter what or who they imagine themselves to...

READ REVIEW

ALLY-SAURUS & THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

A little girl with a dino-sized imagination joins, and learns to get along with, other kids with their own particular styles on the first day of school.

Ally’s a young girl who knows what she likes: dinosaurs. In fact, her scribbly black-and-white figure is surrounded by crayoned pink spines running down her head and back to her tail, and her feet have pink claws. But will she meet any other dinos at school? “I think you’re going to make a lot of new friends,” her mother reassures her. It takes a while for the other kids’ imaginations to overcome their first-day nervousness, but slowly, their outlines also take on hues and costumes: an astronaut, three princesses, a dragon, a lion, and bespectacled Walter, who loves his new briefcase-shaped lunchbox. Recess is spent acting out these fantasies, and an end-of-the-day trip to the library just may prompt some new adventures for tomorrow. Torrey nicely tackles lots of first-day issues in this imaginative offering—making friends, getting along, keeping an open mind, the everyday routines of kindergarten—and he does so with aplomb. Pastel backgrounds make the multiethnic figures stand out, especially their brightly colored imagined costumes.

Ally is an empathetic guide for young children facing their own first days, no matter what or who they imagine themselves to be. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1179-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining.

DON'T FORGET DEXTER!

A lost toy goes through an existential crisis.

The setup is on the copyright page. Amid the markers of a universally recognizable waiting room—fish tank, chairs against the wall, receptionist’s window, kids’ coloring table—is a tiny orange T. Rex with a dialogue balloon: “Hello?” A turn of the page brings Dexter T. Rexter into close view, and he explains his dilemma directly to readers. He and his best friend came for a checkup, but Jack’s disappeared. Maybe readers can help? But when Jack is still MIA, Dexter becomes disconsolate, believing his friend might have left him behind on purpose; maybe he likes another toy better? Dexter weighs his good qualities against those he lacks, and he comes up short. But when readers protest (indicated by a change in Dexter’s tone after the turn of the page), Dexter gains the determination he needs to make a plan. Unfortunately, though hilariously, his escape plan fails. But luckily, a just-as-upset black boy comes looking for Dexter, and the two are reunited. Ward’s ink, colored-pencil, and cut-paper illustrations give readers a toy’s view of the world and allow children to stomp in Dexter’s feet for a while, his facial expressions giving them lots of clues to his feelings. Readers will be reminded of both Knuffle Bunny and Scaredy Squirrel, but Dexter is a character all his own.

Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4727-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more