For vehicle enthusiasts just starting school.

IT'S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!

A new bus is inspected on his first day.

Ben, the bus driver, opens the bus barn’s doors and says good morning to all the buses: Bossy, Zippy, Bouncy, Big, and the newest and smallest member of the fleet, Busy Bus. Busy Bus is very excited, and while Ben inspects his tires, tops up the gas, and adjusts the mirrors, “Busy Bus hopes the children will know they’re safe.” Ben moves inside to check the lights, stop arm, emergency door, fire extinguisher, and first aid kit while Busy Bus wonders if the children will “have fun” riding with him. Ben turns the motor on and checks the gauges and switches and wipers and brakes, but, inspection complete, Busy Bus has a sudden case of nerves: “What if I get homesick?…What if I don’t make any friends?” But one last touch from Ben steels the bus’s courage to go out and do his job. “Busy Bus is going to have a great year!” And hopefully readers will, too, though this book won’t do too much to calm their own fears or keep their interest if they are not into vehicle inspections. Still, the lino print and black ink illustrations with digital color are cute and cheerful, and readers will learn the parts of a bus. Ben presents white.

For vehicle enthusiasts just starting school. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9467-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection.

STOP! BOT!

It’s a quiet day, until….

“I have a bot!” An excited child’s happiness is short-lived, for the remote-controlled toy escapes its wireless tether and begins an ascent up the side of a skyscraper. The building’s doorman launches a race to recover the bot, and soon everyone wants to help. Attempts to retrieve the bot, which is rendered as a red rectangle with a propeller, arms, and a rudimentary face, go from the mundanity of a broom to the absurd—a bright orange beehive hairdo and a person-sized Venus’ flytrap are just some of the silly implements the building’s occupants use to try to rein in the bot. Each double-page spread reveals another level of the building—and further visual hijinks—as the bot makes its way to the top, where an unexpected hero waits (keep an eye out for falling bananas). The tall, narrow trim size echoes the shape of the skyscraper, providing a sense of height as the bot rises. Text is minimal; short declarations in tidy black dialogue bubbles with white courier-style typeface leave the primary-colored, blocky art to effectively carry the story. Facial expressions—both human and bot—are comically spot-on. The bot-owning child has light skin, and there are several people of color among those trying to rescue the bot. One person wears a kufi.

The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-28881-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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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