A smart, charmingly manipulative kid trying to get what she wants makes for a fun (and diverse!) story that both children...

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THE BIG BED

Blogger Laditan (The Honest Toddler) makes her picture-book debut with the story of a little girl who argues for her dad’s spot in “the big bed.”

“I am a reasonable person. I don’t want to see anybody get their feelings hurt.” So begins the confident protagonist’s preface to her argument for “the big bed.” Inviting Daddy to take a seat in her small pink plastic chair, the protagonist—a brown-skinned girl with two coily poofs—first compliments her dad’s skills as a giver of piggyback rides and wrestling opponent. While this makes him a VIP (Very Important Piggyback-ride giver), the crux of her argument follows: “Who does Mommy belong to?” There are just two choices: to the assertive protagonist or to her father (clearly not to herself!). The accompanying illustration belies the protagonist’s previously calm demeanor, portraying her true feelings through her angry eyes (and eyebrows) glaring out at viewers from the bottom of the page. The illustrations augment the hilarity of the protagonist’s further arguments and suggestions about where Daddy should sleep instead. When the little girl tells Mommy her plan, she is met with laughter (which she interprets as encouragement), and the final illustration makes it clear both parents (who are also black) are amused.

A smart, charmingly manipulative kid trying to get what she wants makes for a fun (and diverse!) story that both children and adults can enjoy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30123-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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

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Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to...

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

DRAWN TOGETHER

The power of art takes center stage in this cleverly titled story of a Thai-speaking grandfather connecting to his assimilated American grandson.

The title page introduces readers to a sullen-faced Asian boy as he walks up to a door and rings the bell. After a traditional bow of greeting, the grandfather, dressed like Mr. Rogers in a white shirt and red sweater, wordlessly welcomes the grandson inside. In paneled artwork, the two unsuccessfully attempt conversation over dinner, with the grandfather speaking in Thai script and the boy speaking in English. Sitting in the uncomfortable silence that cultural divides create, the awkward boy finally walks away to doodle on paper. He draws a wizard with a wand and a conical red hat. Grandpa, recognizing this creative outlet, fetches a sketchbook and, surprisingly, draws his version of a wizard: a tightly detailed warrior clothed in traditional Thai ceremonial dress. The young boy is amazed, marveling that “we see each other for the first time.” The two begin a battle of imagination, wands and paintbrushes thrashing like swords. One draws in energetic colorful cartoons, the other with fierce black-and-white, precisely brushed drawings. Santat elevates their newfound shared passion into energetic, layered, and complex designs, separate and entwined at the same time. They clash with the dragon that divides them and build a new world together “that even words can’t describe.”

Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to connect and the joy of sharing the creative process. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-6760-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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