This little gem elicits a sense of deep-seated comfort and refuge for these uncertain times.

BIRD HOUSE

A little yellow bird is grounded in the snow with a broken leg when a child and their abuela rescue it.

Cupping it gently in her hands, Abuela takes the bird home and sets its leg while her grandchild eagerly looks on. Settling the bird in a domed cage, they both care for it until, soon, the bird is flying around the house—to the child’s delight and the cat’s frustration. The day comes to release the healed bird, and the child waves it on its way as it flies over the city. But one spring day a familiar sight greets them—their winged friend has returned. Although the child yearns to keep it, Abuela soothingly reminds her grandchild that the bird belongs to itself and has the right to fly free. But Abuela constructs a sturdy birdhouse from a blueprint and mounts it beside the balcony door—an implicit invitation for future visits. Spanish author/illustrator Gómez’s semiautobiographical tribute to her own abuela is a charming window into an idyllic childhood infused with love for all living things. The simple, flowing first-person narrative flits from page to page in a gentle lilting commentary on harmony and respect. Gómez’s carefully constructed images, from the well-tended profusion of plants to the child-sized chair and mouse toy, are whimsically detailed and subtly compelling. Both child and Abuela have light-brown skin. A Spanish-language edition, Un pájaro en casa, publishes simultaneously. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

This little gem elicits a sense of deep-seated comfort and refuge for these uncertain times. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4408-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

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?

Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed.

YOU DON'T WANT A DRAGON!

If you thought having a unicorn as a pet was hard, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve tried owning a dragon.

The young protagonist of You Don’t Want a Unicorn! (2017) is back, and they clearly haven’t learned their lesson. Now they’ve wished for a pet dragon. As the intrusive narrator is quick to point out, everything about it seems fun at the beginning. However, it’s not long before the doglike dragon starts chasing squirrels, drooling, pooping (ever wondered where charcoal comes from?), scooting its butt across the floor (leaving fire and flames behind), and more. By now, the dragon has grown too huge to keep, so the child (who appears white and also to live alone) wishes it away and settles for a cute little hamster instead. A perfect pet…until it finds a stray magical cupcake. Simple cartoon art and a surfeit of jokes about defecation suggest this book will find an appreciative audience. The dragon/dog equivalences are cute on an initial read, but they may not be strong enough to convince anyone to return. Moreover, a surprising amount of the plot hinges on having read the previous book in this series (it’s the only way readers will know that cupcakes are unicorn poop).

Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53580-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more