Simultaneously fanciful and reverent, this is a joyous look at a crucial tradition

BOWWOW POWWOW

Ojibwe protagonist Windy Girl and her new dog, Itchy Boy, enjoy many good times, but none are so good as when they go to a powwow.

Windy Girl and her pup relish exploring the out-of-doors in all seasons, but the best times are when Uncle visits. His stories about the powwows of long ago fascinate her and make her feel proud. Of all the good times, Windy Girl and Itchy Boy love the end-of-summer powwow most. Often, powwows last well into the night. When the “heartbeat” rhythms of the powwow drum lull Windy Girl and Itchy Boy to sleep, she dreams of a special powwow, one in which all the participants are dogs. Here the illustrations, which look to be made from digital media, present scenes in which dogs of many breeds and attired in ceremonial regalia enact typical powwow activities such as dancing and drumming. The Grand Entry depicts dog veterans carrying flags: the Stars and Stripes, a canine POW-MIA flag, one with a bone insignia, and the Red Lake Ojibwe flag of Child and Thunder’s nation. Dogs even staff “the powwow stands selling Indian fast food.” Windy Girl awakes with a better understanding of the importance of the powwow in Native American cultures. Child’s simple text will help young readers understand the significance of the Ojibwe powwow traditions, and Jourdain’s (Lac La Croix First Nation) Ojibwe translation adds dimension.

Simultaneously fanciful and reverent, this is a joyous look at a crucial tradition . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68134-077-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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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

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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