Perfect as a gift book exchanged between kindred spirits, this could also spark interesting conversations about the role of...

YOU AND ME

A chance meeting that leads to a lasting friendship is lauded in rhyming text and jaunty illustrations.

Verde celebrates not just the bond between best friends, but also the somewhat abstract concept of serendipity by describing experiences that might have brought about a different result on the day she is describing. “What if I had slept in..?” or “...the weather had been stormy gray?” or “a rock in my shoe / had caused me to pause/ for a moment or two.” Simple language, small touches of humor and an engagingly earnest tone enable her to keep things sweet without descending into the overly saccharine or sentimental, but it still seems likely that her message will resonate more with adults than children. Reynolds’ artwork, created using ink, gouache, watercolor and tea (an unusual but appropriately cozy medium for an ode to friendship), brings Verde’s words down to earth and cheerfully to life. His pictures chronicle the accidental encounter and subsequent shared activities of a lanky, androgynous, anthropomorphic yellow cat and a purple feline of similar proportions. Illuminating and expanding the action, amusing tableaux offer charming details and some slyly humorous misdirection. The cats’ faces, though simply drawn, are expressive and appealing.

Perfect as a gift book exchanged between kindred spirits, this could also spark interesting conversations about the role of chance in our lives. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1197-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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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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