A look at parenthood in the animal kingdom that will have readers poring over the photos.

I LOVE MOM

Mothers in the animal kingdom tend to their babies just as human mothers do.

Whether it’s keeping their young warm (piping plover), helping them move about (dolphin, gazelle), or providing a pouch for them (koala, kangaroo), animal mothers do a lot for their children. Covering two-thirds of each spread is a high-quality stock photo of the mother-baby pair (except for a lone baby orangutan practicing independence), sometimes whole bodies, sometimes close-ups. Set against the remainder of the spread, against a tone-on-tone patterned background, is an anthropomorphized “quote” from the child (cheetah: “I’m just going to stretch my legs and rest my chin on your head. You don’t mind, do you, Mom?”) and a short paragraph of information about the species, most explaining how the mother cares for her child, though these vary in the quality of the informational content (about polar bears: “Their white color helps to camouflage them in the snow,” but they are actually black with transparent hair). Companion title I Love Dad is similar, presenting 14 animal dad-and-baby pairs. These include emperor penguins, sea horses, and Darwin’s frogs and jawfish, both of which keep their tadpoles/eggs in their mouths for safekeeping. Several of the dads are shown to be sharing caretaking duties with the female instead of having specific roles of their own.

A look at parenthood in the animal kingdom that will have readers poring over the photos. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60992-9190

Page Count: 32

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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