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DAVY'S SUMMER VACATION!

From the Davy series

A somewhat bland addition to the summer-vacation canon.

The vacation that Davy and his family take isn’t what they’d hoped for; it’s better.

Captivated by the vivid picture a friend paints of her family’s vacation, bunny Davy persuades his parents to embark on an exciting trip, too. The family packs seemingly everything they possess. Bad idea, considering that the overload breaks their wagon; an alternative suggestion to mail their belongings to their destination is discarded: too expensive. Davy’s siblings are bereft that their summer plans appear kaput, but the sight of a leaf gives Davy inspiration. He leads his family on a long trek through a beautiful natural landscape, allowing them to see “many new things” along the way—exactly the vacation experience they’d all wanted. Happily, the hike ends at a lush “magic spring” where everyone can swim, play in the warm sand, and enjoy a picnic—and which all acknowledge is a “real vacation paradise.” Davy explains the location was once Grandpa’s favorite childhood oasis (though both Mother and Father seem to be oddly ignorant of this), and the family makes plans to return soon to this idyllic spot. There’s not much plot in this thin, unoriginal story, but readers who yearn for vacation adventures will relate. The lively illustrations feature a close-knit, happy, expressive rabbit family of different sizes and hues. Double-page spreads preceding and following the narrative depict rambunctious activity.

A somewhat bland addition to the summer-vacation canon. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4278-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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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