Like an old black-and-white movie, this companion to The Boy and the Airplane (2013) will remain charming and relevant—the...

THE GIRL AND THE BICYCLE

A girl spies a gleaming bike in a shop window and decides to earn enough money doing yardwork to buy it.

This wordless, retro book (the girl’s molded curls, turtleneck, plaid skirt and Mary Janes definitely come from another era) champions both grit and kindness, but it seems mighty bleak at times. Moody cement-gray papers, nearly colorless illustrations and a cast of cold adults make the girl’s determination and her working relationship with one kind neighbor all the more moving. Much of Pett’s engrossing narrative is relayed through characters’ limbs, eyes and brows, as many times they simply don’t have mouths. The blank effect of a face without a smile, smirk or frown carries unexpected weight, delivering a sense that the character struggles to withhold or manage emotions. And talk about emotions! After working for the same spectacled lady for months earning money raking, planting and cleaning, the girl rushes to the store only to find her bike already sold. Many young readers may reel just imagining such staggering disappointment and be further boggled by her angelic decision to purchase a tricycle for her small brother instead. Never fear, a Capra-esque ending awaits.

Like an old black-and-white movie, this companion to The Boy and the Airplane (2013) will remain charming and relevant—the old story about what you get when you give never really gets old. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 29, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8319-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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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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A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

From the Big Bright Feelings series

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings (. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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