Skills practice and a peek at the school day: a solid way to prepare.



Readers count to 10 and back down again as they follow an elementary-age student through a typical school day.

“ONE backpack. / TWO teachers” sees the child (who has brown skin and hair in one long, brown braid) arriving, apple in hand. Smaller text in the illustrations directs readers toward other objects to count: “1 globe,” “2 pencils.” The kids listen to their teachers, explore the classroom, play with blocks. Then “TEN chickpeas line up” for snack, each child standing under their own charming, realistically childlike self-portrait. The diverse class includes a range of skin colors and hairstyles, a child who uses a wheelchair (and sits on the floor without it at times), one with hearing aids and an assistive listening device, one wearing glasses, and one in hijab. One teacher has brown skin and puffy brown hair; the other teacher presents Asian. Recess, rest time, more learning, and yoga poses round out the day. Fascinating textures and colors, often supplied by collaged-in bits of found paper (such as ticket stubs and old-fashioned date due cards) fill the pages, inviting readers to look closely. Most of the items are easy to find and count. The characters are rendered in a naïve, folk-art style with two-dimensional stiffness, and one child’s missing front tooth is almost distractingly conspicuous. The final, titular message comes on the penultimate page and is posted on the wall along with a banner saying, “We are ONE community.” Backmatter includes the numbers from 11 to 20, with items to count for each.

Skills practice and a peek at the school day: a solid way to prepare. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-16381-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.


The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A winning tale about finding new friends.


Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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