A reassuring primer on coping with anxiety.


A trip to the aquarium prompts a little girl to overcome a big obstacle.

“Every morning, Camila’s what if worries show up uninvited and follow her out the door.” When her teacher announces an upcoming field trip, Camila spends the week fretting. When she finally arrives at the aquarium, she goes to find a quiet spot for a break—only to discover a classmate also taking a moment away. Kai desperately wants to see the aquarium’s stingray but is scared and asks Camila for help. She decides to step up instead of sinking into her own anxiety. After accompanying Kai to the stingray exhibit, Camila “bravely keeps on trying—in both big and little ways,” such as giving a class presentation on octopuses and joining a game of hide-and-seek. The text is empathetic toward Camila, never judging her anxiety while also showing ways to reduce it. Barton’s soft, muted illustrations are calming but still convey the characters’ strong emotions. The backmatter includes discussion questions and recommended reading for kids; however, though it seems likely that Camila has an anxiety disorder, there are no resources for adults on helping children deal with anxiety. Camila has tan skin and straight black hair cropped just below her ears. Her classmates have a range of skin tones from pale and sandy to light brown. A few classmates have textured hair, and Kai appears to be Asian. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A reassuring primer on coping with anxiety. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 28, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30637-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.


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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


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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