Very funny and full of hope—and feathers.

READ REVIEW

NERDY BIRDY

A small, bespectacled bird struggles with friendship.

Nerdy Birdy, with his too-small wings, is unlike the cool birds. They have impressive attributes: “abs of steel” for Eagle, “glossy red attire” for Cardinal, and “worm-fed physique” for Robin. Nerdy Birdy, allergic to birdseed, wears glasses that are too big. He likes reading and video games (he’s especially devoted to World of Wormcraft). He’s not cool, and it’s “awfully lonely not being a cool birdy.” So he’s delighted to discover other nerdy birds: “Their glasses were too big. Their wings were too small. At least half of them had inhalers.” And there are “way more nerdy birdies than cool birdies.” Now he has friends. The story could have ended there, but instead it ever so sweetly takes flight. A large vulture moves into the neighborhood. While the cool birds find her unacceptable, Nerdy Birdy has confidence in his friends: “Being cool is exhausting. You should hang around with us,” he tells her. Though that’s not exactly what happens, clearly Nerdy Birdy understands the heart of friendship. Davies’ nicely frayed lines and ink-and-watercolor cartoon illustrations create a perfect hybrid of bird and, well, nerd. Reynolds’ gently ironic tone will appeal to elementary-age readers who face similar friendship conundrums—and who might draw confidence from Nerdy Birdy.

Very funny and full of hope—and feathers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-127-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more