Kids who have never been to school will surely look forward to all the fun depicted here.

SCHOOL DAYS

Photos of diverse children give readers a peek at a typical school day.

Rotner and Kelly’s text provides a framework for the day from the perspectives of the children: “We meet on the rug to plan the day. / We check our jobs. / I mark the calendar. / I show the weather.” The photos show sights recognizable in North American elementary school classrooms: the gathering-area rug, the calendar, the job chart. Other pages are devoted to things kids are working on learning and subjects they enjoy, free-time activities they choose, specials classes and what they do there, lunch choices, recess, field trips, and how schools can differ—some have gardens; others might have class pets. Though almost every picture shows smiling faces, one spread is devoted to days that “don’t go right”—a teacher helps when a child’s feelings are hurt, and a nurse provides a bandage after a fall. Rotner’s photos are by far the big draw, each spread showing off two to five colorful pictures, many staged but still appealing. The children here are diverse in almost every way—kids may be skinny, plump, or way taller than their peers and of many racial presentations. Hairstyles vary widely. There are a few children wearing glasses, but there are no other visible disabilities.

Kids who have never been to school will surely look forward to all the fun depicted here. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-5776-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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