An inventive alphabet book for the perceptive reader.

LITTLE i

This unusual alphabet adventure features the little letter i.

“When Little i’s dot fell off, // [it] rolled down a hill, / tumbled over a cliff, / and splashed into the sea.” The rest of the alphabet is puzzled, as without a dot, Little i looks just like a number (which is not specified, but readers who know their numerals will likely think it is a 1). So it sets out to find the missing dot. Fetching up on an island, Little i explores a dark tunnel studded with asterisks, finds a garden of comma-shaped sprouts, encounters a waterfall of exclamation points, and finally finds its dot at “the end of the winding seaside passage.” But now it feels strange to have its dot back on, so Little i decides to leave it behind. When Little i returns to the alphabet without it, the other letters wonder what Little i has become. Why, Big I, of course, and all the letters cheer. The digitally combined collages of painted and cut paper form attractive, bold shapes. Little i is orange with a red dot, and all the letters have eyes, giving them personality. Hall’s playfulness with shapes and colors is more challenging here than in his previous books, and the story takes on a slightly allegorical shape with Little i’s excursion across punctuation. The back endpapers trace i’s journey and interpret it, but whether kids will be confused or charmed by it depends on their level of sophistication.

An inventive alphabet book for the perceptive reader. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-238300-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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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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