Silvestro and Mai-Wyss make plain the joys of intellectual curiosity and exploration, and their message is clear: Libraries...

BUNNY'S BOOK CLUB GOES TO SCHOOL

Bunny goes to school to accompany his book buddy from the library.

Now that Bunny and his friends have library cards (Bunny’s Book Club, 2017), they meet every Saturday to enjoy all that the library has to offer: audiobooks, the computer, arts and crafts, puzzles, and, of course, books. For Bunny, Saturdays mean spending time with his new book buddy, Josie, who recommends and helps him read new books. But one fall day, Josie isn’t herself. She’s worried about making friends in her new school. Bunny’s solution? Why, to be her friend at school, of course. Monday’s parade to school grows and grows until all nine animal book-club friends are at the school searching for Josie…and then, one by one, the animals are distracted by all the new places and interesting things going on: basketball, a computer room, the science lab. Only Bunny is left to find Josie. And then he enters the library. Will he remember his goal? Friendship wins out in the end, and everyone finishes the school day with new pals. Mai-Wyss’ animals are endearing and full of curiosity, kindness, and caring. Josie and the librarian have brown skin and Afro-textured hair; the schoolchildren are diverse.

Silvestro and Mai-Wyss make plain the joys of intellectual curiosity and exploration, and their message is clear: Libraries and schools are wonderful places to learn, grow, and seek your joy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64464-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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