Sweet and accessible: Readers will savor Yoomi’s latest adventure.

SUNDAY FUNDAY IN KOREATOWN

From the Yoomi, Friends, and Family series

When the little things start getting you down, look to Grandma for a pick-me-up.

It’s “Sunday Funday,” and Yoomi, the black-and-white cat protagonist of No Kimchi for Me! (2017) and Let’s Go to Taekwondo (2020), hurries downstairs, eager to watch her favorite show on TV. Unfortunately, she is greeted by her siblings, who inform her that her show is cancelled for the soccer playoffs. Still cheerful, she asks her father to start their Sunday ritual of making kimbap for breakfast—only to find a lack of ingredients means she needs to eat cereal instead. The spare and simple narrative describes the growing pile of frustrations, even when Dad takes her to Koreatown. Her favorite book of folktales has been checked out from the bookmobile. At the Korean market her favorite pastry-wrapped hotdog treat is sold out. When she tries tteokbokki (rice cake in a spicy sauce), she accidentally spills the red sauce all over her shirt. To top it all off, her grandma is not home. An exasperated Yoomi declares, “Today is not a Funday.” Happily, Grandma returns to bring a fresh perspective. Once again Kim explores universal experiences, in this case bad days, while highlighting the comforts and joys of Korean culture, her signature bright and colorful cartoons drawing attention to all the small, delectable details of Koreatown. A note about Koreatown and a recipe for kimbap follow.

Sweet and accessible: Readers will savor Yoomi’s latest adventure. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4447-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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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