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Be ready for some rousing read-alouds! (Picture book. 4-7)

It’s another noisy alphabet romp.

Flat, digitally composed characters and scenarios generate noises for each letter of the alphabet. As the noisy narrative begins, readers will need to look carefully. The initial spread shows a peaceful interior, with a grandfather-type figure with a white mustache watering a houseplant, a child bouncing a ball, and a cat snoozing. In the next spread, the grandfather-type sneezes (“Ah…Ah…Ah…Ah-choo!”), startling the child, who loses control of the ball, which bounces out the window (“BIFF! BOP! BOOM! BOING!”), and the chase is on. “FLIP…FLOP…FLUMP”: A blue bulldog enters the scene chasing the ball and then grabbing it, leading the pursuing child and grandfather past the ice cream cart (“KA-CHING!” goes its till as the duo buy cones), through the park, into a duck pond (“Quack?”), and finally back home, where the child—Xavier—is welcomed warmly. But even as Xavier falls asleep, the grandfather seems to be beginning another sneeze….Aside from Xavier’s name, the only text is onomatopoeia, either the sounds of objects or nonverbal vocalizations such as sighs and grunts. The flow from spread to spread is clever, fluid, and active, with much to point and giggle at. The grandfather figure and the person who welcomes Xavier back home both have light-brown skin, while Xavier is pale.

Be ready for some rousing read-alouds! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8755-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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...

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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Unusual illustrations enhance an engaging, informative narrative.

What can a worm do?

A little worm sets off on a “twirl” to “see the world.” But when it overhears a human referring to it as “just a worm,” its feelings are hurt. The worm asks other critters­—including a caterpillar, a spider, a dragonfly—what they can do. After each answer (turn into a butterfly, spin silk thread, fly), the worm becomes more and more dejected because it can’t do any of these things. “Maybe I am just a worm.” But then the worm encounters a ladybug, who eats aphids and other insects, and the worm realizes that it eats dead plants and animals and keeps gardens clean. And though the worm can’t pollinate like the bee, it does create castings (poop) that help plants grow and stay healthy. These abilities, the worm realizes in triumph, are important! The cleverness of this story lies in its lighthearted, effective dissemination of information about various insects as well as earthworms. It doesn’t hurt that the expressive little worm is downright adorable, with emotions that will resonate with anyone who has felt unimportant. The stunning illustrations are done in quilled paper—a centuries-old technique that involves assembling strips of colored paper into shapes—which adds sparkle and originality. A tutorial of how to make a quilled butterfly and a page on earthworm facts round out the book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Unusual illustrations enhance an engaging, informative narrative. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-06-321256-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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