Great fun for one-on-one sharing and a perfect toddler storytime selection.

TEN TINY TOES

A playful exploration of the body for the littlest learners.

This deceptively simple offering engages toddlers by asking them to participate in the fun by identifying various parts of their bodies and moving them about: “Touch your ears, make them wiggle. / Touch your belly, laugh and giggle. // Touch your mouth, open wide. / Touch your arms, wave side to side.” Periodically, the action is interrupted by a catalog of body parts in the form of a catchy refrain: “Mouth, ears, eyes, nose, // arms, belly, legs, / and ten tiny toes!” The brief, lyrical text, the opportunities for interactivity and the focus on a subject dear to toddlers’ hearts—themselves and all their glorious parts—make this a candidate for repeat readings. The illustrations feature a happy, shaggy-haired Caucasian toddler and his little teddy bear. The backgrounds are kept simple, focusing readers’ attention on the little one as he explores his body as the text directs. In a sweet conclusion, the toddler embraces his teddy, no body part to highlight here—only “a love that grows and grows.”

Great fun for one-on-one sharing and a perfect toddler storytime selection. (Board book. 3 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-53601-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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THE CROSSOVER

Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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