This French import is well intentioned but unlikely to melt many hearts.

Even though a beloved snowman melts away, his friends learn he isn’t gone forever.

Four forest animals depend on the Snowman’s wisdom and antics. When spring’s arrival melts him away, the group sets off to the seaside to search for what’s left of the Snowman, ultimately finding him watching them from above as a puffy, snowman-shaped cloud. Learning that they can reunite with the Snowman when the snow falls is a clever and sweet wrap-up, but as a whole, the book feels stuck in the slush. The wordy, meandering plot makes the book feel aimless—is it meant to be a reflection on friendship and loss or a rollicking journey story? Since the initial relationship between the critters and their frosty friend feels underdeveloped, their grief seems contrived, and given his moderately uncanny black button eyes, some readers might be a little relieved to see the Snowman thaw. Rabbit, Hedgehog, Squirrel, and Owl share the same flaw, all portrayed in a semirealistic style but with disconcertingly blank eyes that aren’t entirely offset by their darling winter hats. Charming or moving pages are scattered through—a boisterous wagon ride; a beautifully blurred page in olive, tan, and brown of small faces staring up in wonder—but they don’t quite overcome the illustrations in which the animal’s bodies are peculiarly shaped and scaled.

This French import is well intentioned but unlikely to melt many hearts. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5526-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019


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


From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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