A giddy, intense, hugely fun ride that will propel listening audiences large or small into spinning tizzies of their own.

READ REVIEW

NIGHT SKY WHEEL RIDE

Poem and pictures unite in a delirious celebration of a first ride on a Ferris wheel.

Two children answer their own repeated chorus of “Are we big enough this year, Mama? / Are we brave enough, Brother? / Sister, are you ready to fly?” with a resounding “YES.” They race through fairgrounds to soar, “swiggle sway / creak squeak / rickety ratcheting / up! / up! / up!” Literally rolling across the pages, Fitch’s lines fizz with motion, emotion and metaphor. Yayo’s cotton-candy–colored pictures pick it all up with vigorously brushed fancies in which the children’s arms become wings or reach out to dandelion-fluff stars. The wheel itself undergoes a series of transformations from giant squealing pig to spinning clothes dryer to bars of music to rows of cocoons and exotic birds. Earthbound again, the excitement abates not a whit: “We are fizzy with the dizzy reeling / fuzzy with the Ferris wheel feeling // Now and forever a part of the sky.”

A giddy, intense, hugely fun ride that will propel listening audiences large or small into spinning tizzies of their own. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-896580-67-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tradewind Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin.

ON THE FIRST DAY OF FIRST GRADE

The traditional song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gets a school makeover as readers follow a cheery narrator through the first 12 days of first grade.

“On the first day of first grade / I had fun right away // laughing and learning all day!” In these first two spreads, Jennings shows the child, who has brown skin and a cloud of dark-brown hair, entering the schoolyard with a diverse array of classmates and settling in. In the backgrounds, caregivers, including a woman in hijab, stand at the fence and kids hang things on hooks in the back of the room. Each new day sees the child and their friends enjoying new things, previous days’ activities repeated in the verses each time so that those listening will soon be chiming in. The child helps in the classroom, checks out books from the library, plants seeds, practices telling time and counting money, leads the line, performs in a play, shows off a picture of their pet bunny, and does activities in gym, music, and art classes. The Photoshop-and-watercolor illustrations portray adorable and engaged kids having fun while learning with friends. But while the song and topic are the same, this doesn’t come close to touching either the hysterical visuals or great rhythm of Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003).

For places where the first-grade shelves are particularly thin. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266851-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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The subtitle for the book is “A Very Confused Christmas,” and many young readers will indeed be confused.

MISSILE TOE

A VERY CONFUSED CHRISTMAS

A dozen humorous poems are inspired by Christmas-related words or phrases as a child might mishear them.

The cover and related title poem, “Missile Toe,” focus on a soccer player by that name. He is a boy with brown skin who always leaps too high and misses scoring. This time, he still leaps but gently taps the ball in as the other players “hugged and kissed beneath Missile Toe.” Most of the other poems focus on traditional Christmas songs, with some sort of humorous twist on the title or a line from the song as the poem’s theme, as in the poems “O Holey Knight” and “The Wee Kings of Orientar.” The poem “Deck the Halls” riffs on a phrase that many a child has found mysterious. There is no title page or author’s note to identify the original songs. Most of the poems require a level of background knowledge  that is beyond the capacity of the intended audience, and the humor would need to be explained to children. A few poems stand on their own, such as “Johnny Oats Ate Nicholas,” about a puppy named Johnny Oats who eats Nicholas the guppy (though it may take saying the title a few times to understand the sonic confusion), and “I’ll Be a Gnome for Christmas.” Amusing, action-filled illustrations include children of different ethnicities. Santa is white; the Wise Men have brown skin.

The subtitle for the book is “A Very Confused Christmas,” and many young readers will indeed be confused. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58536-371-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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