Rural and suburban readers in northern climes will find much to recognize.

READ REVIEW

SPRING FOR SOPHIE

A little girl uses all her senses to detect the signs of spring.

Sophie is a fair-skinned preschooler with a brown pageboy. She lives with her family in a prosperous-looking rural community in what looks like the author’s home state, Vermont. Hill’s accomplished gouache paintings depict leafless trees, snow-covered ground, and a big, comfortable red house. Fanciful touches, such as a parent bluebird impossibly cuddling a baby in a snow-covered birdhouse, will appeal to children even if they are not strictly accurate. Sophie wants to “know how spring is coming.” Her mother tells her to listen for bird song, and one day she hears “the first chirps.” Her dad tells her to feel for soft, muddy ground underfoot; it takes a while, but finally she does. Then she watches for the snow to melt and waits “for the air…to smell like earth and rain.” Each of these transformations takes its time, Hill varying layouts expertly to control the pace. Six vignettes of Sophie playing in the snow on one spread emphasize the passage of time; one full-bleed double-page spread stops it altogether. Together, words and pictures capture the feeling that spring will never come—and then it comes in a rush, trees leafing out in just the last few pages, when Sophie joyfully catches raindrops on her tongue: “this is what spring tastes like!”

Rural and suburban readers in northern climes will find much to recognize. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5134-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more