Poetic, intriguing, and charming.

THE MUSEUM OF EVERYTHING

What would you put in your own museum exhibits?

Perkins’ great gifts for observation and connections are on display here as her narrator—a young White person—serves as curator and tour guide for several “museum exhibits” of concrete objects and abstract phenomena. “When the world gets too big…I like to look at little pieces of it, one at a time,” the narrator says. The result is a small, idiosyncratic catalog of possibilities and a lens for seeing parts of the world in relation to one another. Anything might belong in an exhibit: skirts made from flowering shrubs, all the hiding places in a room, shadows, the sky. One exhibit is a meditation on islands, perspective, and scale: An island could be a stone in a pool on a rock in a pond on an island in the ocean. Perkins uses a palette of rich bright colors in these dioramas and collages. Found items become foliage for bushes, shadow-box items, sandy shorelines. A realistic-looking book dissolves into clouds. Because the text is conversational, quietly speculative, and low-key, there is plenty of room for readers to think about and celebrate their own ways of seeing, collecting, and cataloging the world—and to celebrate an endless variety of possible museum exhibits around them. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.3-by-22.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 23.6% of actual size.)

Poetic, intriguing, and charming. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-298630-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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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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