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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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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