An appropriate-enough option for caregivers who seek books that present basic messages of the benefits and beauty of...

BRIAN THE BRAVE

Stewart uses a group of sheep friends to relay messages of tolerance, acceptance, and nonjudgment.

Brian is a happy and accepting sheep who greets each new addition to the flock as a potential friend and playmate. But as it grows, some of the newcomers have rules for who they will or won’t play with. Tracey and Frank “only like sheep with curly horns.” Stanley doesn’t like sheep with “plain white wool.” Brian is saddened by his new friends’ intolerance and goes off alone. When a wolf threatens all, Brian’s bravery saves the day, along with teaching the rest of the sheep that working and being together benefits everyone. In this obvious “message” story, the writing is somewhat simplistic and repetitive; despite this, young readers might have difficulty identifying and keeping track of the large cast of characters without adult guidance. The illustrations are distinctive and vivid; fans of Eric Carle will find the textured, collagelike pictures reminiscent of his classic work. There are no humans in the book, but the animal characters are plainly meant to represent a wide range of diversity.

An appropriate-enough option for caregivers who seek books that present basic messages of the benefits and beauty of diversity for the very young. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947888-18-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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