For fans of Ferdinand and anyone who wants to share the message of celebrating or at least respecting differences.

FILBERT

THE GOOD LITTLE FIEND

An adorable little fiend that looks a bit like a Wild Thing is—disappointingly—anything but.

Mommy and Daddy Fiend have great expectations for their little one. They want him to be fierce, ferocious, “gruesome and ghastly,” just like them. But Filbert has a different nature. Instead, he is helpful, prefers nice stories and dreams about flowers. His parents send him off for the first day of school decked out in “his fiery red coat, horrifying horns, and monstrous mittens” and the hope that he will “be a proper little fiend.” But quiet Filbert refuses to participate in the monstrous activities and is banished to “the grassy Good Spot” (which might as well be a cork tree). Filbert’s happy reverie is interrupted when a little angel crash-lands. They soon discover their similar predicaments: Florinda is a not-very-good angel who has been banished from Angel School. They hatch a plan to exchange clothes, go back to their respective schools and really freak out their peers, ultimately leading to their respective acceptances. Liao ably paints the contrasting settings in watercolor and gouache and lends further charm to Oram’s appealing characters.

For fans of Ferdinand and anyone who wants to share the message of celebrating or at least respecting differences. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5870-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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