BENNY AND THE BINKY

Benny, a round little pig, learns that wanting and getting are two very different experiences in this charmingly illustrated chuckler. Lindgren and Landström first introduced Benny in Benny’s Had Enough! (1999). Here, he wanted a little brother and he got a little brother, but to his dismay, all this new piglet does is scream and scream so “He is already tired of his little brother.” Benny grows even more dismayed when he sees his brother receive serenity by way of the binky, the cuddly term commonly used for pacifier, which is forbidden to Benny. The metaphorical bulb lights up in Benny’s head, and he hatches a slightly diabolical plan for switching his toy for the desired binky. Benny makes his escape. “He is happy. The binky is good.” He sprints through the town happily sucking on the binky, but it isn’t too long before Benny’s adventure turns into misadventure and he learns that the binky may well be best suited for babies. With a nod to the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf, this is a quaint tale. In simple, straightforward language, Lindgren speaks unpretentiously to her audience. Landström’s adorable artwork offers unique and pleasing perspectives and is painted in golden tones with splashes of muted pastel. This is an obvious choice for toddlers with a new member of the family to contend with. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 5, 2002

ISBN: 91-29-65497-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: R&S/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

Categories:

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

CARRY MY HEART WITH YOU

Lackluster.

A parent and child introduce a way to make daily separations a bit easier.

At school drop-off, a parent rabbit comforts a sad child and hands the little one a heart-shaped object: “I’m giving you my heart to hold / whenever I’m not there.” The heart is meant to remind the child of the parent’s love, celebrate the things the child does well, calm worries, express joy, and watch over the child through the night. The book fails to spell out just how the heart does anything other than serve as a reminder of parental love, however. For instance, “Wave the heart above your head / to sing a happy song.” What’s the connection there? The heart is always in the child’s possession, even when the little bunny is with the parent, contradicting the opening premise that it’s for when the two are apart. Most troublingly, unlike a kissing hand, the wooden keepsake heart that comes with the book could easily be lost; with the statements that it’s the parent’s heart and that the love in the heart will never end, losing the token could be quite upsetting. The artwork features adorable cartoon anthropomorphic animals of various species, two of which use wheelchairs. The font sometimes fills in the centers of the lowercase g, o, a, and letters with hearts, which may cause difficulties for youngsters reading on their own or for those with dyslexia.

Lackluster. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781680102970

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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