A celebration of beauty—in a city, in its people, and in an extraordinary avian visitor.

THE TALE OF THE MANDARIN DUCK

A MODERN FABLE

In 2018, New Yorkers had an all-too-brief but oh-so-passionate love affair with a rara avis (literally).

In the fall of 2018, a mandarin duck was spotted in New York City’s Central Park. Native to East Asia, the duck was an ornithological surprise that immediately captivated urban dwellers. People flocked to the park to take photos on their cellphones. In this retelling of the incident, a girl of color stands up on a rock and proclaims that she will gaze upon the beautiful bird directly “with [her] own two eyes.” Her words catch on, and soon everyone follows suit. Some months later the bird disappears, but lingering on is an appreciation of beauty all around that can be viewed directly, not through a device. Midler has crafted a loving ode to the people of New York, to the errant bird, and to the art of direct communication, something at which the star of stage and screen excels. Stunning full-page color photographs present the duck in all its magnificently colored feathered panoply. Grayscale sketches that fill many pages present a dizzying array of city folk in all their robust diversity. Adults and children wistfully remembering a socially close NYC will appreciate this moment from a past time. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 42.5% of actual size.)

A celebration of beauty—in a city, in its people, and in an extraordinary avian visitor. (photographer’s note) (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17676-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 28

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more