Muddled messages overwhelm endearing illustrations in this friendship tale.

WHERE THE DRAGONS LIVE

From the Rosie and Rasmus series

The sequel to Rosie and Rasmus (2019) finds Rasmus, a small dragon with short wings, facing bullying and loneliness in his new home.

When Rasmus reaches “the island where the dragons live,” he receives a harsh welcome. In speech-balloon dialogue, much-bigger dragons mock his stature, small wings, and lack of horns, sneering, “Keep on walking, baby monster.” His amusingly unsuccessful attempts to roar, kick rocks, and breathe fire (as a similarly small-winged dragon watches covertly) make him first sad, then angry. He fires off a note to Rosie, his human pal, denying their friendship because Rosie hasn’t visited. As in the previous book, Rasmus is primarily an object of Rosie’s help. Rosie sails to the island and delivers a pep talk, concluding that the only difference between Rasmus and the others is his kind heart. As the pair play and celebrate, the other small-winged dragon asks to join. After some kite flying, the new pals say goodbye to Rosie, “a treasured [friend].” Another dragon watches with interest, hinting at another friendship. With soft edges and close perspective, Geddes’ pastel-hued illustrations sympathetically express Rasmus’ anger, sadness, and joy. However, Rasmus’ passivity offers little encouragement to similarly lonely readers. His friendship with Rosie remains uneven, and her pivotal ice-breaking risks implying that Rasmus wouldn’t have made his new friends without her—good thing she knows how to sail! Rosie is white.

Muddled messages overwhelm endearing illustrations in this friendship tale. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9876-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

From the Big Bright Feelings series

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings (. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more