The text and illustrations will amuse, and children and caregivers alike will find something to relate to in this...

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GRIZZLY BOY

A boy decides he wants to be wild and free, like a bear.

Theo wakes up one morning and decides he is a bear. He practices his growl, scratches his rear on his bedpost, and declares bears don’t wear underwear (bare bottom illustrated, so giggles are guaranteed). His mother plays along with his grizzly ways (and even sees opportunities for adding veggies to his diet) but tries to tame his wildness. As a bear, Theo causes a lot of trouble at school. Using a touch of turnabout, his mother helps him realize that he can be a little wild and free while still following the rules. Davis-Pyles captures the struggle between a child who wants to play all day and a parent who wants to maintain control but not stifle his imagination. The narration is typed, while dialogue is illustrated in speech bubbles. Although the story flows well, there is one speech bubble that may cause pause: “Forest foods will make you brown bear BIG!” In the illustrations, Subisak alternates Theo as a boy with Theo as a grizzly. She uses bold colors and varied lines to add movement and emphasis on the emotions and actions. Using the details and the shadows, she does an excellent job of showing the two sides: grizzly vs. human. Theo and his mom present Asian.

The text and illustrations will amuse, and children and caregivers alike will find something to relate to in this actions-and-consequences story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63217-168-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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