Maybe it’s time for balloon stories to retire along with Frank

READ REVIEW

ONCE UPON A BALLOON

A lighter-than-air answer to that eternal question: Where do balloons go? Chicago.

Specifically, they end up with Frank, Chicago’s Nocturnal City Collection Custodian, who travels around the Windy City with a bouquet of specialized tools to retrieve lost balloons. Poor Frank is overworked and dreams of eventual replacement by a robot that might liberate him to enjoy Chicago in the daytime. At least this is the story that Zeke tells his little brother, Theo, after Theo lets go of the string of his new green balloon. Theo is so taken by the story that Zeke writes a message to Frank on his orange balloon, and then the brothers let it go as well. Malenfant uses a deliberately childlike style to illustrate this sweet flight of fancy, which celebrates storytelling, the bond between siblings and the wonder of a serendipitous connection, all at the same time. The image of lonely, hardworking Frank sitting in a deserted dugout with a few stray balloons says it all. But appealing as Theo, Zeke and the perhaps-fictitious Frank are, it’s hard not to wonder whether yet another story that celebrates releasing balloons is the best thing we could be doing for the world, particularly as Theo’s killjoy mother delivers a story that is probably closer to the truth than Zeke’s: that balloons probably pop as the air pressure changes, resulting in balloon fragments on the ground.

Maybe it’s time for balloon stories to retire along with Frank . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0324-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more