A clever way to ensure everyone is ready for the first day.

HOW TO GET YOUR TEACHER READY

From the How To... series

After all the school-supply shopping and the back-to-school night, students are ready for their first days of school, but what about their teachers?

In this primer, Reagan and Wildish (How to Raise a Mom, 2017, etc.) teach kids how to make their teachers feel welcome in their classrooms and how to ease their fears about the first day and the many special days sprinkled throughout the calendar. It’s a clever ruse that just may work on those kids who are very nervous—after all, easing someone else’s fears often soothes one’s own, not to mention the fact that by going through the school day and year, the book is prepping readers for what they can expect. From greeting your teacher with a big smile and putting on a smock in the art room to combing your hair and avoiding messy snacks on picture day and counting to 100 many ways on the 100th day, the basics are all covered. Wildish’s teacher is a white woman with brown hair, her class a mix of genders and skin and hair colors; one child sports glasses. Vignette, full-, and double-page illustrations against solid or simple backgrounds keep the focus on what children can expect at school, though emotion tends to be rather one-note (happy) and the kids lack the individual personalities of those in Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten.

A clever way to ensure everyone is ready for the first day. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-53825-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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