Convincingly and sweetly told, Moon’s story is a striking authorial debut from illustrator Oliver.

READ REVIEW

MOON

An overscheduled kid gets a taste of the wild life of wolves and brings some of it back home.

Moon is a young girl with a long list of to-dos, including homework, trumpet lessons, “stuff and more stuff.…Moon always did it all. But she wondered what it would be like not to.” Moon tries to learn what it would be like to be wild in books, but that’s a dead end. Instead, she wanders out one night and befriends a benign pack of wolves. She asks them to show her “the wolfy ways,” leading to pouncing, playing, and, of course, howling. It’s exactly what one would expect, as Moon learns the value of being wild once in a while, which she brings back to her school, to the enjoyment (and participation) of classmates. But one passage resonates and stands apart from the rest, on a double-page spread in which Moon and a wolf calmly meditate, their images reflected in a pool of water, and Moon learns “How to be still, how to listen and feel.” The delicate illustrations, which have a dreamlike quality in their glowing whites and luminous pastels (not to mention Moon’s purple skin), suggest that this may be a dream, but what Moon learns is not.

Convincingly and sweetly told, Moon’s story is a striking authorial debut from illustrator Oliver. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-78160-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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