Readers will want to go to sleep right away in hopes of summoning their own dream friends

DREAM FRIENDS

A little girl’s “dream friend” assuages her loneliness after a family move.

Every night Melody ascends a spiral staircase from her bedroom to her dreams, where she plays with a giant, fluffy white dog sporting a red bow tie. He surprises her “with lovely things,” and they play hide-and-seek and watch fireworks together. But Melody must leave her idyllic dream world during the day, and in the “real world,” she languishes in loneliness on the playground—“she was too shy to talk to the other children.” “Coax[ing]” her dream friend into the real world doesn’t work, but one day on the playground, she imagines dancing with him, attracting the attention of a friendly girl in overalls. “Melody taught her the dance she learned from her friend. Soon everyone on the playground was dancing with them.” While newcomer Byun’s story is a little on the bland and idealized side, her illustrations entrance. Delicate lines and a retro pastel palette create a friendly, surreal dream world and an appealing neighborhood playground filled with a multiethnic cast of chubby-cheeked children. The sequence in which Melody tries to convince her dream friend to come into the world is particularly funny; she sets a trail of cupcakes and tries with main force to squash him through her door, among other stratagems.

Readers will want to go to sleep right away in hopes of summoning their own dream friends . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25739-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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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 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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