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JUNGLE CAT

A welcome reminder that whether you’re a cat or a human, it’s nice to have friendly people around ready to help you out.

An apartment-dwelling feline has good-hearted neighbors.

Bob, an orange tabby and self-described “jungle cat,” loves visiting friends. Firefighter Pearl appreciates that the cat follows her as she waters the lush greenery in her plant-filled “jungle” space. Chef Mario generously proffers sardines, adored by jungle cats. Computer whiz Kevin provides a bowl of fresh water, which Bob pretends is a “watering hole deep in the jungle.” The best apartment is the one Bob shares with Pippa and her mom. When Pippa says the noisy city street is “a jungle,” guess who’s ready for adventure? But being outside proves too much even for a jungle cat. Bravado’s one thing; screeching tires, honking horns, and shouting drivers are another: Bob heads for home and, in jungle-cat fashion, climbs a tree. Uh-oh, in pet-cat fashion, Bob gets stuck. Luckily, the feline’s frantic meowing brings Pearl with a ladder and Mario, Kevin, and Pippa following closely behind. Together they effect a safe rescue, and a party celebrates the ordeal’s happy ending. Though it’s a tale we’ve seen before, this Canadian import is charming and conveys important messages about friendship and cooperation. The colorful digital illustrations are lively and filled with delightful, witty details; Bob is very expressive. Pearl, Mario, Pippa, and her mom have varied tones of brown skin; Kevin is White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A welcome reminder that whether you’re a cat or a human, it’s nice to have friendly people around ready to help you out. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

ISBN: 9781459834644

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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