A gentle, effective presentation of an environmental disaster.

NO MORE PLASTIC

Angered by the death of a whale, beached on the ocean shore she loves, Isley finds a constructive response.

When Isley learns that the dead right whale had starved from filling its stomach with plastic trash instead of whale food, she is devastated. Her first reaction is believably childlike—a tantrum. She stomps, she kicks, she screams: “NO MORE PLASTIC.” But she channels her distress into action, refusing plastic in all its forms and encouraging her neighbors to do the same. Although they forget about the whale eventually, returning to old habits, Isley continues to pick up plastic trash on the beach. With the mountain she’s collected, she builds a full-sized whale sculpture, an unavoidable reminder that changes behaviors in her community. Like Isley with her construction, author/illustrator Fullerton has created her illustrations from “repurposed plastic, sand, and moss.” Among the best of the recent books about ocean plastic thanks to its positive approach and practical suggestions included at the end, this title would work well as a group read-aloud. The narrative is full of sounds: lapping wave sounds begin and end the story, but there are also sea gulls’ squawks, whales’ songs, and a quiet nighthawk’s call. The target audience will be slightly younger than that for Susan Hood’s The Last Straw (2021), which has more substantive backmatter. The setting is Prince Edward Island; the protagonist presents White.

A gentle, effective presentation of an environmental disaster. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77278-113-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Hee haw.

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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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