Predictably upbeat and inviting.

I AM ME

A BOOK OF AUTHENTICITY

A celebration of difference, connection, and community.

Verde and Reynolds continue their “I Am” picture books with this installment encouraging individuality. A nameless child with brown skin and tight purple curls leads the way. Throughout, a silver remote-control dog, an orange cat, a lion, and another nameless person, with brown skin and a larger body frame, weave in and out alongside statements such as “Difference is what makes life beautiful and miraculous.” Caregivers may want to encourage little ones to spot the characters as they read or listen—a straightforward way to engage alongside the high-level messages of the book. The primary character grows to care and ultimately declare love for the other human character—which could be read as deep friendship or romantic love. “I” statements dominate the text, offering conversation starters. Statements like “I can surround myself with those who see me, stand up for me, and support me” may require longer explanations or discussion. These are balanced by simpler declarations like “I can dance to my own rhythm any time I want to move and groove.” Text and illustrations, featuring graceful, energetic linework, will draw a wide audience. The content will be most meaningful for children who need the confidence boost offered to stay true to themselves while still seeking positive relationships. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Predictably upbeat and inviting. (author’s note with meditation instructions) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4648-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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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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