Sublimely satisfying.

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ASK ME

As a little girl and her father take a walk together, the girl directs her dad to ask her questions about what she likes.

The girl, clad in a bright red coat, gently commands, “Ask me what I like.” Dad, wearing a bold blue cap, complies. The answers flow: “I like dogs. I like cats. I like turtles.” As they walk through the neighborhood, the conversation continues, spurred on by what the girl observes. She likes geese in the sky and in the water. She likes lightning bugs but not fireflies. She loves flowers and ice cream cones. She likes “red everything.” She likes “splishing, sploshing and splooshing in the rain.” She likes those words she made up. Sharp-eyed readers will notice the text color subtly changes from gray when the girl speaks to dark blue when her father does. Their simple back-and-forth dialogue speaks volumes about their strong father-daughter bond. As endearing and joyful as it is to read Waber’s words aloud, it is Lee’s illustrations that make this title truly special. Primary colors in pencil dominate the images, with grays and light tans lending calming touches. The autumn trees and wildflower field look wonderfully scribbled, contrasting beautifully with the finely detailed geese, butterflies, and maple leaves. Lee makes masterful drawing look deceptively simple, creating visual appeal for readers of all ages.

Sublimely satisfying. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-547-73394-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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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Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to...

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

DRAWN TOGETHER

The power of art takes center stage in this cleverly titled story of a Thai-speaking grandfather connecting to his assimilated American grandson.

The title page introduces readers to a sullen-faced Asian boy as he walks up to a door and rings the bell. After a traditional bow of greeting, the grandfather, dressed like Mr. Rogers in a white shirt and red sweater, wordlessly welcomes the grandson inside. In paneled artwork, the two unsuccessfully attempt conversation over dinner, with the grandfather speaking in Thai script and the boy speaking in English. Sitting in the uncomfortable silence that cultural divides create, the awkward boy finally walks away to doodle on paper. He draws a wizard with a wand and a conical red hat. Grandpa, recognizing this creative outlet, fetches a sketchbook and, surprisingly, draws his version of a wizard: a tightly detailed warrior clothed in traditional Thai ceremonial dress. The young boy is amazed, marveling that “we see each other for the first time.” The two begin a battle of imagination, wands and paintbrushes thrashing like swords. One draws in energetic colorful cartoons, the other with fierce black-and-white, precisely brushed drawings. Santat elevates their newfound shared passion into energetic, layered, and complex designs, separate and entwined at the same time. They clash with the dragon that divides them and build a new world together “that even words can’t describe.”

Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to connect and the joy of sharing the creative process. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-6760-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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