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A picture book for The Office–loving adults to read by themselves.

An earnest but incompetent kid strives to bring order to his elementary school classroom in this picture-book companion to the TV show The Office.

When Michael Scott is appointed class Line Leader at Dunder Mifflin Elementary, he has his mom fashion him a sippy cup that reads “World’s Best Line Leader.” A kid named Dwight observes the chaos in the classroom—which is mystifyingly devoid of adults for the entire book—and tells Michael he might need some help. Other kids agree. Accepting Dwight as Assistant to the Line Leader, Michael proceeds to tell Angela to plan a party to be held in five minutes’ time and then struggles to fulfill his function by lining the kids up. Several pages of ineffectual lining-up later, Pam suggests Michael ask for help. A brainstorming session yields several ideas, including “beet harvesting,…pretzel toppings, cuteness, [and the] buddy system.” As Michael surveys his classmates happily eating cake, he concludes, “I lead a great class.” In Demmer’s cartoon illustrations, all the kids have a bobblehead look, with wide, staring eyes; most, including Michael, present White. Periodically the narrative stops to allow one or two students to break the fourth wall and comment on the action in some fashion. These interruptions are in keeping with the TV show’s formula but do not provide enough scaffolding to allow child readers to understand what’s going on; nonsensical dialogue (“A mistake plus Keleven equals seven!”) likewise excludes children from the joke. Adult readers with familiarity with the TV series may find it hilarious. Readers with no familiarity—that is, just about every single kid in this book’s putative audience—will not. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.4-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 51.5% of actual size.)

A picture book for The Office–loving adults to read by themselves. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-42838-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2021

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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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From the Food Group series

From curds to riches, from meltdown to uplift—this multicourse romp delivers.

A winning wheel of cheddar with braggadocio to match narrates a tale of comeuppance and redemption.

From humble beginnings among kitchen curds living “quiet lives of pasteurization,” the Big Cheese longs to be the best and builds success and renown based on proven skills and dependable results: “I stuck to the things I was good at.” When newcomer Wedge moves to the village of Curds-on-Whey, the Cheese’s star status wobbles and falls. Turns out that quiet, modest Wedge is also multitalented. At the annual Cheese-cathlon, Wedge bests six-time winner Cheese in every event, from the footrace and chess to hat making and bread buttering. A disappointed Cheese throws a full-blown tantrum before arriving at a moment of truth: Self-calming, conscious breathing permits deep relief that losing—even badly—does not result in disaster. A debrief with Wedge “that wasn’t all about me” leads to further realizations: Losing builds empathy for others; obsession with winning obscures “the joy of participating.” The chastened cheddar learns to reserve bragging for lifting up friends, because anyone can be the Big Cheese. More didactic and less pun-rich than previous entries in the Food Group series, this outing nevertheless couples a cheerful refrain with pithy life lessons that hit home. Oswald’s detailed, comical illustrations continue to provide laughs, including a spot with Cheese onstage doing a “CHED” talk.

From curds to riches, from meltdown to uplift—this multicourse romp delivers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063329508

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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