A super blend of everyday courage, the inner lives of readers, and rising to the challenge of doing something difficult.

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBO-KID

A comic-book hero and a real boy share an adventure.

In the opening pages, Robo-Kid successfully averts a disaster. Then the frames of a comic book give way to the surroundings of a young, light-skinned boy absorbed in the story as a voice calls, “Ready for your swimming lesson, Henry?” Henry slams the comic book closed and tucks it into his backpack, and Robo-Kid rubs their head. “I hate when they do that,” remarks Robo-Kid, a round-headed figure who appears to be made of interlocking blocks. As Henry approaches the community center, Robo-Kid complains to their robot family at the dinner table—“Why can’t I be a superhero in the real world?” The juxtaposition of the comic-book frames of Robo-Kid’s experiences with spreads depicting Henry’s is excellent, with deGroat’s crisp, engaging art rendering both characters’ worlds in clear lines and bright colors. Robo-Kid senses that they are needed—it’s evident from Henry’s worried face that he’s not entirely confident about swimming—and hops into Henry’s world. When Robo-Kid leaps into the pool, it’s Henry to the rescue. An image of a triumphant Henry holding his swimming certificate and the account Robo-Kid gives to the family about their adventure in the “real world” emphasize the heroics of both characters, each entitled to feel successful. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A super blend of everyday courage, the inner lives of readers, and rising to the challenge of doing something difficult. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 28, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4976-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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