This sweet book will encourage storytelling about readers’ own local neighborhoods.

THANK YOU, NEIGHBOR!

Walking through the streets of a low-rise urban community, an Asian kid with a friendly dog greets neighbors and community workers, thanking them for their contributions.

The detailed line-and-color illustrations beg for close inspection and practically tell the simple story by themselves, although there is also a limited amount of text and some dialogue in cartoon bubbles. The kid and the dog, who performs his normal bodily functions along the way, talk to lots of people, both adults and children. As they go through the streets and the library (the dog stuffed into the kid’s backpack) and peek in on the crowded grocery store, the protagonist talks to the sanitation workers, the letter carrier, people cleaning in front of their shops, some firefighters rescuing a cat, and others opening the hydrant for children to cool off in its water. The child hails neighbors and friends, all enjoying an ideal city day. At the end, kid and dog return home to their apartment, proudly showing the library book (appropriately, Last Stop on Market Street, a book about a grandchild and grandmother) they checked out to a smiling older woman, waiting for the child with what appear to be Chinese dumplings. The community’s inhabitants are robustly diverse, including different ages, racial presentations, and abilities. In a note, the author/illustrator writes fondly about her Brooklyn neighborhood. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This sweet book will encourage storytelling about readers’ own local neighborhoods. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-290953-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

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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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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