One of the cutest tadpole-to-frog stories ever. (Picture book. 4-8)

TAD

A tiny tadpole finally finds her frog legs.

Tad, depicted as an earnest yellow eye attached to a wiggly black tail, is “the smallest almost-a-frog in the whole wide pond.” She wriggles “twice as fast just to keep up” with her endearing tadsiblings, all of them bursting with expression even though they are all pretty much simple egg-shaped eyes with tails. But “she [is] strong and she [is] clever,” and she counts on these skills to keep her safe from Big Blub, a creepy greenish fish who’s reputed to feed on little tadpoles. “Tad [has] never seen Big Blub” and “decide[s] not to believe” in him, her smug smile turning anxious as she finds hiding spots, “just in case.” The tadpoles grow legs and lose their tails, and they positively thrum with youthful energy as they rejoice in their new bodies—“All except for Tad,” who stays bean-shaped and be-tailed. The number of Tad’s tadbrothers and tadsisters starts to dwindle, slowly and ominously, until she’s left all alone. The slow suspense, tapping into young children’s fear of abandonment, builds masterfully with joyous payoff in a final, vibrant spread after Tad skedaddles away from Big Blub in a riotous burst of limbs. Davies’ mostly muted palette is dominated by teal and algae green, enlivened with the tadpoles’ bright yellow, orange, blue, and purple eyes.

One of the cutest tadpole-to-frog stories ever. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-256359-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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