Children will be eager beavers to try their own sleepovers with Chip’s gentle aid.


From the Chip & Ben series

A new experience yields surprises, good and bad, in a sleepover story.

After the miscommunications rife in My Friend Ben Won’t Share (2021), the beaver duo of Chip and Ben returns in a much merrier premise. When Ben invites Chip over for a first-time sleepover, it takes little convincing to get Chip in on Ben’s big plans. They’ll build a fort outside, tell scary stories, and more! But once at Ben’s house, Chip keeps wistfully thinking of Mom and Dad, wondering whether Dad would enjoy the dinner Ben’s parents serve or whether Mom and Dad are playing with Chip’s toys. Outdoor camping seems to be going fine for the two kits, right up until the night noises have them fleeing back inside. Even so, Chip sticks it out in Ben’s room that night, proudly proclaiming in the morn, “I can’t wait for our next sleepover.” Anxious younger readers will find a like-minded soul in Chip, as there is much to identify with in this sweet story of seeing a new experience through to the end. Uncomplicated, easy-to-parse art provides just the right cartoon feel for a story that legitimizes young children’s big emotions.

Children will be eager beavers to try their own sleepovers with Chip’s gentle aid. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8075-5309-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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


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.


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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