Sweet without being sententious.


Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

It's tough to be the new kid. It's especially tough for Tayra, because Tayra doesn't talk. She won't make a single sound: not when her classmates try talking to her louder or even when the teacher asks her questions. The other kids find this silence strange; classmate Kitty wonders if Tayra's "stubborn" or "rude" or "just...in some / I'm-not-talking mood," and an accident leads some kids to wonder if, just maybe, she's "bad." But a little patience and understanding go a long way, and together the class learns that talking isn't the only way to make friends. This story, told in playful rhyme, is a deceptively simple exploration of making friends, something many children struggle with, whether they can speak or not. The story never explains why Tayra doesn't speak, but that why is less integral to the plot's development than the process of resolving misunderstandings, learning to communicate effectively with others, and creating an inclusive environment in which differences are respected and accommodated. The use of alternative modes of communication (e.g., gestures, drawings, music) plays out in a child-friendly manner that never feels patronizing. Expressive anthropomorphic animals, hand-drawn and digitally rendered, create a dynamic and warm visual landscape; readers will root for the class as much as for Tayra as they collectively navigate their new friendship. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet without being sententious. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0484-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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...


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 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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