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BEGINNING

A gentle, winsome reminder that an ending is just an opportunity for a new start.

A picture-book exploration of endings and beginnings.

Thomas uses nature to explore the topic. “The end of a seed is the beginning of a flower. // The end of an egg / is the beginning of a chick. // The end of a caterpillar / is the beginning of a butterfly.” Thomas then moves on to more abstract ideas: “When a peach ends / a tree can begin.” A parent and a child bury a peach pit—the seed for a new tree. From here, the book branches out to the experiences of a child’s typical day. “When a sunrise ends pancakes begin! // A walk ends where the playground begins.” Throughout the day, the child is taken on outings; when the sun sets, that means it’s time to take a bath, don pajamas, and go to bed, with the promise of many tomorrows. “The end of today / is the beginning of tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.” Though taking on philosophical subject matter, this accessible, gracefully written tale uses tangible examples that will resonate with children. Castrillón’s elegant, expressionistic digital artwork extends each example, using cool purple hues to depict a lush, slightly surreal world. Characters are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gentle, winsome reminder that an ending is just an opportunity for a new start. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9443-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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THE HUGASAURUS

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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