Beatles lovers should stick to sharing just the tune and skip this.

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

Yet another famous song gets the picture-book treatment, and yet another song’s lyrics are revealed to be less than the sum of the tune’s parts.

The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” was born in the Summer of Love, and its chorus reflects that. The verses, though….As Barry Miles quotes Paul McCartney in his book Many Years from Now, “The chorus…is simple, but the verse is quite complex; in fact, I never understood it….” Young readers are no more likely to get it than McCartney, and even adults reading, “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done,” are likely to say, “Duh.” It’s best just to go with it and stick around for the chorus. Rosenthal’s artwork begins with a bear in a den made of rocks listening to some birds in a nest: “Love, love, love.” Two more successive spreads show the bear inspecting the birds’ nest up close and then, walking on two hind legs, starting a parade through the forest to the outskirts of a town and then right through it, forest animals and a pair of children, one brown-skinned with short black hair and the other a pale-skinned blonde, joining behind, with the whole parade leaving blooming flowers in its wake. Along the way, diverse people stop and watch. While bright and colorful, the pictures don’t elucidate the verses’ meaning any better than the text, though love comes through loud and clear. Final art not seen.

Beatles lovers should stick to sharing just the tune and skip this. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2981-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 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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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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