The wheels on the bikes go round…and readers will meet endearing new pals.


What do you get when you smash your bike? A new friend.

Maurice sells lemonade from a cart attached to his yellow bike. Lotta has a red bike with a basket that holds sticks she collects and then gives away. Both travel along similar pathways daily yet never meet…until a stick becomes entangled in one of Maurice’s spokes, propelling him into a tree. Meanwhile, Lotta’s bike skids on some lemon rinds, causing her to crash, too. They’re unharmed, but their bikes are ruined and occupations suffer. When Maurice and Lotta read a sign advertising bikes for sale, each visits Sid’s repair shop. Hurray! Sid has fashioned a tandem bike, developed from the broken remains. He has also created a new friendship, as Maurice and Lotta become the owners/riders of a yellow-and-red lemonade-and–stick-collecting bicycle built for two. In the end, life has handed out lemons, and they’ve never tasted sweeter. This is a sweet, quiet, different take on the familiar new-friendship trope. The quirky acrylic illustrations are appealing; characters are expressive. Chipmunk Maurice has enormous black eyes and has vivid red fur. Porcupine Lotta is pale yellow. They and various other animal characters wear typical kids’ attire. Visual learners will enjoy traversing the routes taken by the main characters on the simply drawn maps printed on the front and back endpapers.

The wheels on the bikes go round…and readers will meet endearing new pals. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5932-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A winning tale about finding new friends.


Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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


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

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