Vibrant, vigorous, and multifaceted—just like America.

I IS FOR IMMIGRANTS

An alphabet book that celebrates everything that immigrants have brought to the United States, from ambition to Zen.

Each letter of this exuberant and poignant alphabet book is represented by a montage of words and images that include feelings, ideas, and things that people from all over the world have brought with them to their new home. D is for Dreamers (and dreamers), dumplings, diversity, and Day of the Dead. H is for holidays, heritage, hijabs, Holi, Hanukkah, and hope. Y is for yucca, yoga, yogurt, Yiddish, yearning—and “you.” By including both the tangible and the intangible, Alko reinforces the idea that the U.S. is more than just a conglomeration of cultures; it’s a quilt of shared values. The text is hand-lettered in varying sizes, incorporated into the overall compositions, and the accompanying images are painted and collaged with verve, emphasizing a folk-art–like artistic sensibility with saturated colors, bold brush strokes, and found objects. In the concluding author’s note, Alko shares her own immigration story and reiterates that “America isn’t any one thing”—that it is both magnificent and complex. Readers from all backgrounds with have a blast looking for references to their own heritages and finding commonalities. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Vibrant, vigorous, and multifaceted—just like America. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23786-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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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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