FEARLESS MIRABELLE & MEG

Identical twins find their individuality at the circus.

Mirabelle and Meg Moffat have grown up traveling with their circus-acrobat parents. While the twins resemble each other, with elongated, oval heads; rosy cheeks; and large, expressive black dots for eyes, their personalities are nothing alike. From a young age, Mirabelle, always dressed in blue, has liked action, much to her parents’ delight. Meg, always dressed in yellow, has preferred talking—and staying on the ground. When their parents decide it’s time they join the family business, Mirabelle takes to acrobatics with ease. Deemed “fearless,” she becomes the headliner for the next show. But as Meg takes her turn on the trapeze platform, she becomes speechless for the first time, and her parents realize that she is afraid of heights. On the day of Mirabelle’s grand debut, action verbs describe her amazing feats and the crowd’s response. But when the press demands interviews afterward, she finds herself speechless and afraid. Meg finally recognizes her own fearless talent, becoming the spokesperson and announcer for the circus. While the finale highlights individualism, wise caregivers will also note the common pitfall of expecting children to follow in their footsteps. The twins’ yellows and blues set against the reds of the circus tent give the story a pleasing primary palette and retro style befitting the circus theme. While the girls and their parents are white, the audience is diverse.

Big top fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0811-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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