Friendship trumps greed in this satisfying tale.

PUSS & BOOTS

A resourceful feline comes to the aid of a shoemaker.

With no orders to work on, the poor shoemaker shares his last meager meal with his cat. The cat, however, has a better idea. With a brand new pair of stylish red boots on his own two feet, he sets out for the local monster’s castle deep in the dark woods. There, he proceeds to cater to the greedy monster, who “must have the right shoes to match whatever creature he turned himself into.” There are lace-ups for when he becomes a zebra, high boots for when he is a bear and clogs for his time as a baboon. The monster, however, does not care to pay for any of the footwear, so the cat has the shoemaker fashion a pair of the very finest and tiniest shoes, fit for a mouse. And the rest is the best sort of fairy-tale ending. Monster becomes mouse; mouse becomes a meal for cat—and the shoemaker, now busy at work in the castle, and his cat fare very well indeed. Imai skillfully blends elements of popular stories into a fresh, clean tale, abetted by translator Uchida and adapter Westerlund. Her sophisticated artwork uses linear design to great effect by highlighting size differences and perspectives. The muted palette of greens, browns and oranges lends a slightly mysterious air.

Friendship trumps greed in this satisfying tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-988-8240-71-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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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Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.

DOUBLE PUPPY TROUBLE

From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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