Pleasingly reflective of familiar childhood inner and outer wanderings, this picture book encourages little readers’ feet...

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WHERE MY FEET GO

A little panda's feet, snug in yellow moon boots, turn everyday walks into extraordinary adventures.

They tread through the "thick jungle" (a vegetable garden), up "tall mountains" (a green knoll), over a "creaking bridge"(a log), and even into "the ocean" (a rain puddle). And that's just the morning! In the afternoon, those feet sit "very, very quietly" while the panda feeds "little dinosaurs" (bobbing birds). The ingenious incongruity between these imagined assertions and the realities keenly illustrated on these pages will delight children, who are intimately privy to the all-consuming power of pretend play. These uncluttered illustrations, in wintry purples, blues, greens, and browns, stretch across the length of two pages, suggesting an elasticized, unhurried narrative spun out of a young mind. Pencil drawings, made fuzzy and haloed by digital coloring, appear both specific and gauzy—an ambivalence that works in a story about unspooling imagination. The young narrator reads as a bit ambiguous, its long, string-bean body looking little like a roly-poly panda. Though the panda is gendered male in flap copy, the text is entirely in the first person, so the protagonist can be interpreted flexibly. The day described, however, with its swing rides, sandbox castles, bath-time splashes, and bedtime books, greatly resembles many children’s quotidian pleasures.

Pleasingly reflective of familiar childhood inner and outer wanderings, this picture book encourages little readers’ feet and minds to run on and on. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-51164-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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