Review of Time for Kenny

Time for Kenny
by Brian Pinkney; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g
1/21    978-0-06-073528-9    $17.99

Four brief stories take us through young Kenny’s day as he gets dressed, has an encounter with a monster-like vacuum cleaner, learns “no hands!” soccer skills, and resists bedtime. Pinkney’s text is both spare and engagingly lively — and the clean font and page design and use of repetition make this an excellent choice for both emerging readers and preschoolers (think Watanabe’s How Do I Put It On?). Each chapter is introduced by a page of full color containing a brief introductory sentence or two (“Kenny doesn’t like the vacuum cleaner. It sleeps in the closet”; “Kenny’s bedtime is in five minutes. But Kenny is not tired”), nicely delineating the four sections. The situations are all ones to which young readers will relate — and they will cheer as Kenny emerges victorious each time (“Is Kenny dressed? Yes!”). The illustrations — in Pinkney’s signature swirly art, full of movement and energy — capture Kenny’s personality and emotions. They also portray, understatedly but definitely, the warmth of this family’s relationships: he and Daddy laugh together in a post-vacuum-cleaner tickling session; his sister high-fives him after his soccer lesson; his mother reads him a book at bedtime. Pinkney keeps a tight focus on Kenny, his family, and a few signature objects (particularly his yellow toy school bus and beloved stuffed animal Kitty), helping viewers to likewise focus as they spend the day with this delightful Black boy.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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