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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Hee haw.

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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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Chilling in the best ways.

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CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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