If looking for cuteness, pick this one. For alphabet learning, try something else.

ABC ZOOBORNS!

From the ZooBorns! series

With shelves full of ABC books and animal-baby books, is there room for another one that combines the two? 

The ZooBorn brand by Bleiman and Eastland presents 26 baby animals that will have children keening to their parents, “Can I have one?” Similar to their title ZooBorns (2010), each page has an adorable close-up photograph of a baby animal from Anteater to "ZOOBORNS!" Lions and giraffes, vicuñas and dholes appear in between, among others. The graphic image of each capital letter includes a silhouette of the adult animal, along with a quote from the baby about its young life. The baby panda, lying flat like a rug, says, “Phew…I’m flat-out pooped from playing with my panda pals.” This is more about ramping up cuteness than actually providing information on the species represented, and the language is at odds with the ABC format. While the panda example has the appropriate phonetic reinforcement, others do not. The hardest words to read will be the animal names; nyala (a type of antelope) and Ural owl may trip up adult readers as well as children. The endnotes include conservation-status information with a short description on the specific animal and its zoo home. But that is just dressing on simply adorable infants.

If looking for cuteness, pick this one. For alphabet learning, try something else. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4371-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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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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Still, this may be just the ticket for harried moms who want to point out all they do for their kids and get a little help...

HOW TO RAISE A MOM

From the How To... series

Mothers finally get their due from Reagan and Wildish, who instruct readers on how to raise a happy and healthy mom.

A white brother-and-sister pair are readers’ guides, and the day starts with how to wake Mom up: let her sleep in a little, kiss her, and serve breakfast in bed (in Wildish’s humorous digital illustrations, whole fruits—including a pineapple and a lime—a box of popcorn, and juice). The kids ready Mom for the day by dressing her (!) and piling everything necessary at the door. Stuck in a long line at the store? If a surprise treat and acting silly fail, just say, “Thank you so much, Sweet Pea, for being so patient.” The day continues with time for work, outside play, and relaxing, followed by some tips about eating vegetables and bedtime routines. While many of the pages are laugh-out-loud funny, this misses the mark in terms of consistency, sometimes prodding kids to do nice things (breakfast in bed, tidy up for her), sometimes reversing the parent and child roles (the hilarious scene in the store), and other times just showing what moms regularly do anyway (playing outdoors, sitting and chatting with another mom on a “playdate”).

Still, this may be just the ticket for harried moms who want to point out all they do for their kids and get a little help in return—sly fun in other words. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-53829-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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