Will very likely make young readers yearn for a big foodie event like the one depicted.

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FOOD TRUCK FEST!

Vivid details highlight the workers and dining fans who make up a local food-truck festival scene.

For it all to happen, the food-truck owners must gather, prepare, cook, and transport it all, which turns out to be a lot more work than kids might expect. That work is presented in clear explanations that demystify what’s behind those serving windows. “They’re kitchens on wheels, without the frills,” it’s explained, and similarly, the book’s text is stripped down into simple rhyming couplets. The story of how the trucks get to the fest is shown in parallel to a family’s preparations to attend. Though it seems meant to build anticipation and give the child’s view on things, the family members aren’t named and do little more than rush. But that doesn’t matter because the illustrations and knowledgeable text keep the attention focused on the variety of the trucks and the work done by the people who run them. By the time readers get to the fest, with trucks with names such as “Pho Sho” and “Slow Your Roll” (eggrolls, of course), it’s obvious that food blogger Penfold’s knowledge is coming through. The illustrations pack in a big, wide range of people, from customers to chefs to musicians, convincingly creating a vibrant community brought together by the variety of things they love to eat. (The focal family is pale-skinned.)

Will very likely make young readers yearn for a big foodie event like the one depicted. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30318-1

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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A fascinating, splendidly executed peek into both the mundane and the dramatic aspects of lighthouse life.

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HELLO LIGHTHOUSE

This tribute to lighthouses of an earlier era focuses on one lighthouse and its dedicated keeper.

Perched “on the highest rock of a tiny island / at the edge of the world,” the lighthouse shines for seafaring ships. A new keeper arrives, continuing the endless routine of polishing the lens, refilling the oil, trimming the wick, winding the clockwork, painting the round rooms, fishing, making tea, sending letters to his wife (in bottles), and writing daily in his logbook. One day, a ship delivering supplies brings the keeper’s wife! The keeper rings a warning bell in fog, rescues wrecked sailors, and logs his baby’s birth. When he’s ill, his stalwart wife tends the light and maintains the logbook. Eventually, a mechanical light replaces the keeper. While the spare, unemotional text resembles a keeper’s log, the book’s vertical orientation echoes a lighthouse tower. Rendered in Chinese ink and watercolor, precise, detailed illustrations present the lighthouse surrounded by patterned blue, green, or gray waves depending on the weather or season, reinforcing its solitary enterprise. A cutaway interior view exposes a compact, contained world. Close-ups of the keeper and his wife (both white) in porthole-shaped frames and from unusual aerial views emphasize their isolated, intimate, circular environment. An “About Lighthouses” section adds insightful detail.

A fascinating, splendidly executed peek into both the mundane and the dramatic aspects of lighthouse life. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-36238-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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