THE MAN WHO LIVED IN A HOLLOW TREE

This rich tale, based on an Appalachian legend, tells the story of the improvised life of Harlan Burch, a philosophical carpenter who builds everything from cradles to coffins and plants two trees for every one he cuts down. On a walk “noticing things,” he discovers an enormous sycamore tree that in his opinion would make a perfect home. So he sets up house and contines to work and live for a long time. Then a strange thing starts to happen—he starts to grow younger. He marries, has lots of children and lives in the tree until he dies at 142. Shelby’s gorgeous, rhythmic narration artfully shows, without one hint of forceful message, that living to the fullest is about living deeply and conciously. Harlan isn’t rewarded with riches and fame, but rather life itself. Hazelaar’s pale, country-toned acrylics accented with quilting squares—and in the central, transformative spread, taking the form of a quilt—are the perfect folk touch for Harlan, his trees and all that living. Nicely done. (author’s, illustrator’s notes, key to quilt squares) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 10, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-689-86169-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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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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PANDA KISSES

When a young panda asks each of his parents for a kiss, they give him choices: “A soft kiss? / A sweet kiss? / A sticky bamboo treat kiss?” High or low, in the sun or the rain, from a bunny or a fish? In the end the young panda determines that “There are many kisses that will do! / But the best kiss is—from both of you!” A large font, rhythm and rhyme, picture clues and a low word count per page will help emergent readers succeed. Widdowson’s bright illustrations scatter Chinese elements throughout, adding international flair, and sprinkle other animals exchanging smooches for extra interest. A sweet treat to share with a beginning reader. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84562-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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