A call to save our oceans, gentler than most.

LITTLE TURTLE AND THE CHANGING SEA

A sea turtle sees her beloved ocean undergoing worrisome, even dangerous, changes.

Seemingly pitched to incite mild alarm rather than anything stronger in young audiences, this tale follows Little Turtle on an idyllic life course from hatching to maturity. One day, in the course of a pleasant journey back to the beach where she was born, she notices that colors are fading on the reef, and there are more and more “strange new creatures”—plastic bags, in Poh’s bubbly, shimmering undersea scenes—floating everywhere. “The ocean no longer [feels] like a friend,” particularly after she is caught in a drift of netting. In the nick of time, though, two (white) divers “[emerge] from the strangeness” to free her and to restore the sea floor to its former natural beauty. “Thank you,” she says, paddling away with a delighted smile on her delicately featured anthropomorphic face. The more emphatic tones in Michelle Lord’s The Mess That We Made, illustrated by Julia Blattman (2020), or Deborah Diesen’s Pout-Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean, illustrated by Dan Hanna (2019), more effectively capture the urgency of the issue. Still, the light touch here offers a less-pressured—and arguably more developmentally appropriate—invitation to absorb the information about the causes and dangers of plastic pollution that Davies places in a closing note.

A call to save our oceans, gentler than most. (print and web resources) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-199-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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