Oblivious to the rambunctious antics of Finney, Fergus, Franny and Fiona, when Mrs. Finnemore finally loads her ferret...

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EDWIN SPEAKS UP

Edwin’s mother is the epitome of 1950s femininity—smartly dressed, elegantly coiffed and preoccupied with adult concerns throughout this entertaining supermarket romp.

Oblivious to the rambunctious antics of Finney, Fergus, Franny and Fiona, when Mrs. Finnemore finally loads her ferret family into her sleek, powder-blue Chrysler (with anachronistic seatbelts and a car seat), she also misses the meaning of Baby Edwin’s earnest babble. Therein lies the satisfaction for those who do attend to his speech bubbles. Had his mother been concentrating, she, too, would have realized that “Gloo poop SHOE noogie froo KEY” meant the car keys were in her son’s shoe or that “Gimpin chalk lil wiz um SWEETIN’ do a bye bye,” combined with Edwin’s endearingly outstretched arms, signaled that the sugar she was purchasing for his birthday cake was disappearing in someone else’s cart. Blackall’s highly patterned watercolor, gouache and ink scenes, infused with pink and turquoise, contrast with the white balloons surrounding his words—a choice that focuses attention. Stevens' inclusion of potty words in the phrases will add to young listeners' surprise and delight. They will cheer Edwin on as he patiently takes matters into his own hands, occasionally glancing winsomely at his audience, even as his mother wonders when he will begin talking.

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-85337-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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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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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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