Next book

ALWAYS ANJALI

An uplifting tale about embracing what makes us different.

When Anjali’s classmates make fun of her name, her mother helps her see the beauty in it and in her Indian heritage.

On her seventh birthday, Anjali is thrilled to receive exactly the present she’d hoped for: a brand-new bicycle. She takes her gift to the school carnival, where she and her best friends, Mary and Courtney, spot a booth selling license plates for bikes. Although the other girls immediately find plates with their names, Anjali doesn’t have any luck. She asks the shopkeeper for help, but he brushes her off. Even worse, an older boy from school overhears the conversation and mocks her name as other kids join in. Anjali returns home in tears and, over dinner, threatens to change her name to Angie. Anjali’s mother tells her that her name is Sanskrit and that it comes from India (“Anjali is a gift. The most precious kind. Divine. Just like you!”). The book’s message is laudable, and the protagonist is delightfully sparkly. Anjali cuts an endearing, large-eyed figure in Blank’s artwork, and the scene in which Anjali’s mother explains her name shimmers with colors. At times, the prose can be clunky, and the bullying scenes may upset very young readers. Overall, though, it’s an affirming read that will resonate with many readers. Mary is tan-skinned, Courtney is White-presenting, and the community is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An uplifting tale about embracing what makes us different. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-64883-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

Next book

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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

Next book

CLAYMATES

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Close Quickview