A trippy addition to the search-and-find genre.

READ REVIEW

THE LOST PICNIC

Granddad and his grandchildren will need plenty of help to recover all the goodies that fall out of their basket on the way to the picnic grounds.

As in his Lost House (2016), Cronin relies on an intense, even garish palette to complicate the search for each errant item. The picnickers—floppy-eared, chubby-cheeked anthropomorphic white dogs—tie a big basket to the top of their car. But as they start off, the basket’s lid pops open, and upon arrival: “Holy moly! It’s empty!” Spread by busy spread, the lost items are keyed by ominous hints in the narrative (“A banana would be a nice treat, but they’d better wait till the picnic”) and by significant dominant hues in each broad, bustling landscape through which they pass. Nevertheless, the items that bounce out of the basket are not only tiny, but hidden amid concatenations of architectural and natural features, traffic, piles of bric-a-brac, and other distractions, most colored in searing orange, pinks, yellows, and greens. The author does not provide a locational key, but he does gather images of all the food at the end so that viewers paging back will know what to look for, and he leaves his three picnickers replete and snoozing on the final page.

A trippy addition to the search-and-find genre. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-99922-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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