A PERFECT SEASON FOR DREAMING / UN TIEMPO PERFECTO PARA SOÑAR

One cloudless summer, 78-year-old Octavio Rivera’s afternoon naps lead to a series of fantastical dreams. On the first day of the season, a single guitar “whispering songs of love” bursts through a star-shaped piñata, and on the second day, two kissing turtles float across a blue sky. With each passing day, the items delivered by the piñata grow in both number and whimsy; as his dreams surround and fill him up, Octavio feels a growing need to share his dreams; but with whom? Sáenz’s treatment of reality and his rich, sensory-filled imagery evokes García Márquez, while Andrade Valencia’s illustrations, done in a brilliant southwestern palette, employ flat perspectives and surrealist compositions to create a visual fusion of folk art and Magritte. One lovely wordless spread finds Octavio revealing his dreams to his granddaughter Regina, and in so doing, Octavio also shares himself. While a counting book in concept, Sáenz’s text is layered with multiple meanings. Young readers will enjoy its structure, numbers and playful dreams, while more sophisticated readers—and even adults—will find reasons to return to it again and again. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-933693-01-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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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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