With its small trim size, this empathetic offering might be just the thing for little ones to take off by themselves when...

READ REVIEW

PRICKLY JENNY

A girl is in low spirits all day.

“Jenny doesn’t say good morning because, really, what’s so good about it?” opens the story, plunging readers into Jenny’s mood. She doesn’t want her new polka-dot dress, she wants an old T-shirt; she grumbles and drags her feet on the way to the fair. Jenny doesn’t want compliments for her artwork, and she doesn’t want “you” to notice a temporary smile that sneaks out during her genuine melancholy. Sometimes she knows what she wants and sometimes not: “Jenny says, ‘Leave me alone!’ But she cries when Mommy goes away.” Delacroix uses the left side of each spread for text—dark blue lettering, shaded in with the same blue, on white background—and the right side for images. Each illustration features Jenny, with her huge head, expressive face, and small, blocky, vulnerable feet. Background coloring for the illustrations is a warm, yellowish taupe—not quite an unfriendly color but certainly not a comforting one. There’s no neat solution here, just welcome acknowledgement of irritation, unsettled emotions and bad days. Few readers won’t recognize the emotional core: “Jenny is feeling out of sorts, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. She just wants to be loved.”

With its small trim size, this empathetic offering might be just the thing for little ones to take off by themselves when they’re feeling prickly. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77147-129-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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