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MY BEST FRIEND'S BANGLES

A moving story about friendship, heartache, and making amends.

A cherished friendship is rocked by jealousy.

Selvi and Divya do everything together. They bike to school, play dress-up, and share meals; they both deeply miss their mothers. The children’s ammas work overseas as domestic helpers, returning home once a year. One day, Selvi notices Divya’s new rainbow bangles—a present from her mother, who’s just come home. The clinking bangles remind Selvi of Amma’s absence. When Divya tries to share her bangles, Selvi yells and throws them away. Remorseful, Selvi later approaches Divya’s house, but the sound of laughter makes Selvi wonder if Divya really needs a friend now that she has her mother. Selvi is starting to bike away slowly in the falling rain when Divya suddenly shows up. Selvi apologizes: “I just wish my amma came back too.” Divya slides some of her bangles onto Selvi’s hand: “Now we’ll each have our own rainbow for gloomy days.” Sensing the quiet note in Divya’s voice, Selvi asks if her mother is leaving. As the sun comes out, Divya smiles and says that Selvi’s mother will be home soon with presents to share. This lyrical story, set in a Sri Lankan tea plantation, reflects the reality of many children who grow up with a parent who works far away. The children’s deep bond, briefly fractured by feelings of jealousy, shines throughout the thoughtful writing. Colorful illustrations capture their lush surroundings and moments of joy and sadness.

A moving story about friendship, heartache, and making amends. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 11, 2024

ISBN: 9781665921718

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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

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CLAYMATES

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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