A jam-packed view of the creative process of two imaginative siblings.

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VIOLET AND VICTOR WRITE THE MOST FABULOUS FAIRY TALE

Twins Violet and Victor are back for another bout of collaborative (and sometimes competitive) writing.

Violet, who loves writing and storytelling, sets about creating “the most fabulous fairy tale in the history of fairy tales.” Victor, engrossed in his project about Australian animals, pooh-poohs make-believe. The twins spar in text type that’s color-coded with their T-shirts—violet (natch) and orange, respectively. The tale they jointly create is written on rectangles of lavender or orange notebook paper, hand-lettered by the artist. Violet’s rather schmaltzy start (“Fairy Tale Kingdom is a marvelous place”) gets a jolt when Victor inserts a wicked witch who's annoyed over the portrayal of witches in fairy tales. She bans them, banishing “Princess Violet to an island in Fairy Tale Ocean. Violet could never write another fairy tale.” Dismayed but undaunted, Violet recovers, regaling the witch with minitales of talented, happy, generous witches who bake cakes to share (with much-loved Australian animals, in fact). Murguia layers digital compositions with printed pages, doilies, maps, and swirls of stippled paint. Dark blue-greens and purples signal the fairy tale’s arc, while white space is employed for the twins in situ. Their faces and skinny limbs loosely sketched against white space, the two join the marketplace’s growing legion of cartoonish, de facto–Caucasian characters.

A jam-packed view of the creative process of two imaginative siblings. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-21202-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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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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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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