Comforting to the littlest of ones who find themselves in a change of surroundings.

NIEVE EN LA JUNGLA / SNOW IN THE JUNGLE

A tiny polar bear must learn how to cope after moving.

Snow loves her tundra friends, snowy hills, and polar treats. But her mom gets a new job far away, and suddenly Snow must leave everything that she knows. In her new home, vegetation grows thick and green, animals eat strange yellow fruit with a peel, and it is hot. Very, very hot. Snow feels isolated and alone. She can’t even understand what her classmates are saying! Snow tries to make friends, but everyone seems standoffish—until Snow realizes they are busy creating a surprise to make her feel welcome. This chunky little bear (who looks precisely like a chiseled block of ice) slowly finds her way through the anxieties of moving to a new place. One of the most endearing sentiments important for parents to remember: “Only her mother’s hug felt the same as always.” Hofmann-Maniyar, in her picture-book debut, explores a difficult transition that many children face, using a metaphor that rings true. A child experiencing any type of move, whether across the world or across the town, certainly can feel like a polar bear being plopped smack in the middle of a jungle!  (Editor's note: This book was originally reviewed in our Sept. 15, 2015, issue as Ice in the Jungle. On Dec. 1, 2020, the publisher renamed the protagonist and reissued the book in a bilingual Spanish/English edition as Nieve en la jungla / Snow in the Jungle. This review has been updated to reflect these changes.)

Comforting to the littlest of ones who find themselves in a change of surroundings. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78628-515-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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