A collage of new experiences right from the first of the year.

A young girl with beige skin and straight, brown hair wakes up to the first day of the new year. Thus follows a parade of the year’s firsts—waffles, new umbrella, snowfall, fight with her brother (a recurring theme that compounds exponentially as the year goes on), and more. Klein’s simple, understated text effectively and poignantly paints a world of hilarity mixed with drama (“First crush”; “First missed bus”; “Second lost umbrella”). Shown in both vignettes and full-page art, Leng’s soft watercolor palette is punctuated by the characters’ evocative expressions that add to the emotional depth of the book. While books about the seasons are a familiar sight on shelves, this fresh twist offers young readers a glimpse of important moments in a child’s year—moments that add up to a wealth of experience and anticipation of firsts still to come. At times, the “first” motif slips slightly. These experiences are meant to occur within one year, so readers may wonder at “First giving” and “First getting” at the end of the year in winter (no birthdays?); or, for that matter, more than one mask (“First new mask”) at Halloween. However these are minor quibbles in an otherwise satisfying read. The endpapers are worth poring over, done in a scrapbook style. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-21-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

A delightful tale that is likely to be a perennial first at storytime.

(Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: today

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4208-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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