A wide-eyed, open-hearted evocation of a refugee’s experience.

CROCODILE'S CROSSING

A SEARCH FOR HOME

In this Belgian import, Crocodile must leave his home when “the trouble” comes.

“ ‘Everything will be better where I’m going!’ he thought. ‘But where is that?’ ” Crocodile’s journey across the sea takes him to towering cities, arid deserts, and sparse countrysides, each more different and unwelcoming than the last. Wherever he lands, he finds hardship in many forms from various peoples, with clears signs warning him that this is “NOT YOUR LAND.” He dreams himself back to “safe and happy” memories spent with friends and family, before misfortune arose and food shortages became the norm. Still, Crocodile moves on, and he’s becoming “so, so tired.” Then a community of mice takes him in, and Crocodile slowly integrates into their society, new experiences building fresh, happy memories. All that’s missing is one crucial piece: family. As a refugee narrative, Crocodile’s tale offers young readers a safe, comfortable way to broach a complex subject. In the uncredited translation, the text takes care to delineate Crocodile’s journey such that it stirs compassion, just hinting at horrors left behind. Slegers’ artwork, meanwhile, contributes the most to this narrative, capturing the turmoil and uncertainty of a refugee’s journey in moody blues and shadows. Crocodile’s teeth are prominent, but his demeanor is never ferocious. What’s left unsaid in the text is made explicit in the illustrations, mainly how prejudice pops up all too easily.

A wide-eyed, open-hearted evocation of a refugee’s experience. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-94-788821-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more