This is the Neolithic equivalent of “one more book,” “I need a drink,” “gotta go potty,” and it’s uproarious.

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CAVE DADA

“Baba want book”: A tot’s demand for a book before bed will strike chords of recognition in many a household.

After a busy day (“Dada tired. Hunt gather all day. Dada no read book”), Cave Dada just wants Baba to sleep. But his fur diaper–clad tot isn’t having it: “Ug. Baba feel cry.” And when Dada attempts to distract his tot in other ways, that’s just what Baba does, in an up-close, full-bleed page of the child’s blotchy face, screwed-shut eyes, and uvula visible at the back of the wide-open, wailing mouth. Off Dada goes to get the book: a stone tablet carved with symbols. But it’s not the right one. “Dada feel cry, too.” And when he returns with a book taller and wider than he is, he does cry—it’s not the one Baba wants either. Even the discovery of fire (from the friction of moving the book) doesn’t distract for long—it’s off to get the big book with the necessary help of a mammoth. Adult readers will guess what Dada finds upon his return, but the ending spread is still sweetly satisfying, even though it ultimately fails to promote bonding through books. Reese’s soft-edged cartoons are masterful, the backgrounds simple so as to keep the focus on the dilemma (and humor) at hand. Both Baba and Dada have light skin.

This is the Neolithic equivalent of “one more book,” “I need a drink,” “gotta go potty,” and it’s uproarious. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7994-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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