A good pick about caring for sharing.

THE POWER OF ONE

EVERY ACT OF KINDNESS COUNTS

Words and pictures work together to show how, one by one, we can make a difference.

Ludwig’s text doesn’t tell a story so much as it delivers the straightforward message that even small acts of kindness can have a big impact. The narrative takes root in Curato’s illustrations, which expand on the text to depict a diverse group of children and their interactions. An opening frontmatter scene shows a white-appearing child with blond hair and blue eyes shouting at another person (words are represented by scribbles in a speech balloon), who appears to be a child of color. On the facing page, a crowd of kids rendered in grayscale are oblivious to the interaction, with the exception of one child with East Asian features who stands out in full color. On ensuing pages, the child who was shouted at cries while the tormentor stalks away and the bystanding child offers comfort. This act of kindness spurs others that eventually include all of the children coming together in full color to create a garden. Even the first, shouting kid from the frontmatter reappears with a flower to apologize. The garden prompts interpretations both literal and metaphorical as the children sit down at a table shaped like the numeral one to feast.

A good pick about caring for sharing. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7158-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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