Lovely, lyrical text combines skillfully with dreamlike illustrations to create soothing music—with just one off-key note.

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THE MUSIC OF THE SEA

In this picture book translated from the Spanish, a young girl interacts with the music made by the ocean next to her seaside village.

Marina, a young white girl, lives in Lemonsea, a tiny fishing village. When a storm destroys the crops and drives the fish away, everyone but Marina and her white fisherman father, Daniel, leaves to find their living elsewhere. Marina is sad until her father builds a sea organ that is played by the ocean’s tides and currents and the wind. Attracted by the music, whales arrive, and Marina befriends them, even rides them. Eventually the music attracts fish in such abundance that the villagers return, and Lemonsea becomes more prosperous than before. Isern’s lyrical narrative waxes poetic about the sea, whales, and the contentment found in a life close to nature, and Chicote’s illustrations, with their dreamlike quality, enhance the narrative. There’s one off-key note, however, that undermines the harmony-in-nature theme. Chicote includes fanciful characters who have the heads of fish and bodies of humans (they’re not mentioned in the text) interacting in the village alongside regular humans (all white), and readers might wonder who the fish-people are and how they feel about the fishing industry.

Lovely, lyrical text combines skillfully with dreamlike illustrations to create soothing music—with just one off-key note. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-16733-28-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you

THE THANK YOU BOOK

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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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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