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BOWWOW POWWOW

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

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 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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