Like so many books commemorating the season, sweet but unremarkable.

ALL THE COLORS OF CHRISTMAS

Rhyming verse describes various Christmas symbols and events, grouped by color, as four children celebrate the season.

The dominant color in Gamble’s palette shifts accordingly from red through green, gold, blue, and white to brown before concluding pages shift from hues to “you.” The children, two White kids who may be preschoolers or early-elementary children, one Asian child about the same age, and another Asian child who is a young toddler, decorate the tree, go to a Christmas fair, go ice-skating, and participate in a Nativity play, among other activities. The children’s caregivers are largely absent, leaving readers to parse the children’s relationships as they will: They could be siblings, two sets of cousins, or good friends. Other children of varied racial presentation appear in the background. Turner’s verse makes some odd twists and turns, with forced rhymes and/or scansion in more than one or two spots. “Christmas is GOLD. / It’s bright ribbon unrolled. / It’s jingling bells / and warm, yummy smells. / It’s heirlooms YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HOLD. / It’s dancers all tapping among holiday trappings. / It’s nutcracker crowns / and Christmas Eve gowns. / It’s glittery gift wrapping.” Like the verse, the illustrations are also sometimes awkward, the children sometimes seeming as if they are pasted onto a space rather than painted into it. A little mouse in a snowsuit appears in many spreads. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 92.3% of actual size.)

Like so many books commemorating the season, sweet but unremarkable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-65414-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Convergent/Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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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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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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