Similarly talkative youngsters struggling with social interactions may want to schedule their own laryngitis days.

QUIET PLEASE, OWEN MCPHEE!

A boy who talks too much gets some lessons on the importance of listening from his classmates…and laryngitis.

The book sets the tone from the start, dialogue balloons with fading text filling the opening spread, Owen’s poor dog on her back with paws over her ears. But that’s just the start. Subsequent spreads demonstrate how Owen’s loquaciousness negatively affects his classmates on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Thursday, though, brings a bout of laryngitis that stops Owen in his tracks. Writing everything down takes so much time! Retreating from the playground, where he just can’t keep up, he finds Isabella working on a bridge project he ruined on Monday. After his heartfelt written apology, she invites him to help her, and he becomes the fourth member of a successful team. The ending reflects real life in that Owen still has bouts of talkativeness, though now he does also listen for others’ input…and he schedules regular laryngitis days on his calendar. Barton’s pencil-and-digital illustrations portray a very diverse classroom headed by a black male teacher; red-headed Owen himself presents white, and Isabella has pale skin and black hair. Faces are incredibly expressive; readers will have no doubt how Owen’s classmates feel about his interruptions during storytime or his plot-spoiling at lunch. Discussion questions that will require some deep thinking round out the book.

Similarly talkative youngsters struggling with social interactions may want to schedule their own laryngitis days. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-55713-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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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A tender tribute to the power of family in bolstering children making their way in an often unkind world.

A DOOR MADE FOR ME

Some childhood encounters take a lifetime to get over.

As Tyler, a young Black boy, rides to his grandparents’ house, his folded arms and anxious expression suggest that he does not want to go. A whole summer with his grandparents—who will he play with? But Tyler quickly becomes friends with Jack, a White boy about his age. The boys enjoy fishing in the river together, and Jack teaches Ty how to dig for nightcrawlers. One day, they catch three buckets of fish, and Jack decides to show all his friends. But when the boys knock on a door, a White father refuses to let his child come out—a pattern that repeats several times. Baffled, Tyler finally realizes the reason when one parent says, “You can come in, Jack…but not that little Black boy. He needs to stay outside.” Jack enters, leaving Tyler on the other side of the locked door, which changes everything for Tyler. At home, Tyler’s grandfather offers no easy answers, but he has words of encouragement that make all the difference. In an author’s note, Merritt explains that this story is based on his own childhood experience—which “left a mark on my heart that I would carry for many years.” Ollivierre’s illustrations, with deeply saturated colors, effectively capture Tyler’s sadness and befuddlement as he encounters racism from the White adults but also the joy and love that abound as the family bonds over a backyard fried fish dinner. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A tender tribute to the power of family in bolstering children making their way in an often unkind world. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5460-1256-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WorthyKids/Ideals

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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