The brief text and a chapter format both make this a manageable and entertaining accomplishment for most young readers as...

READ REVIEW

BORIS ON THE MOVE

From the Boris series , Vol. 1

An early reader shaped just like a chapter book: What’s not to love?

For emergent readers who view themselves as accomplished (or wish to be seen that way), this, one of the publisher’s Branches line, might just be the perfect choice. Boris, a not-particularly-attractive hog, is frustrated. Although he and his parents live in a bus that once took them on fabulous vacations, now the old vehicle is permanently parked, and he longs for adventure. Finally, his empathetic parents fire up the engine to bring him on a journey that, it disappointingly turns out, is only across town to a nature preserve. However, Boris, his anger vividly portrayed in his frazzled body language, contrives to get himself satisfyingly lost. Happily, he’s found, first by a cat in need of a home and then by his parents. Full-color illustrations of his humorously anthropomorphized hog family and just one or two sentences of easy, large-print text per page make this an inviting read for transitioning readers, although they may initially be a bit daunted by the misleading appearance of a full 74 pages of narrative—including a simple science experiment.

The brief text and a chapter format both make this a manageable and entertaining accomplishment for most young readers as well as an amusing listening experience for those not quite able to tackle it alone. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-48443-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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 sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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