Children will surely want their own large brown reading buddies after listening to this book about the joys and challenges...

READ REVIEW

BEARS MAKE THE BEST READING BUDDIES

Dogs (and other children) are often used as reading buddies in schools and libraries, but bears may seem a bit unusual in that role.

When school starts, Mrs. Fitz-Pea pairs up her students as reading buddies, but Adelaide has a surprise. She brings her own buddy, a large brown bear in a bright blue, patterned ski sweater. Although the teacher is frightened (she literally screams: “AHHHHH!”), Adelaide is quick to describe the talents of bears. “They know how to build peaceful places where no one bothers you while you read. They sit side by side, knee to knee, and put the book between you, so you both can see.” In this double-page spread, Adelaide and her bear are pictured inside a flowered tent sitting on colorful pillows atop a granny-square afghan. Bears also encourage their human partners and “roar” their approval. When Adelaide finishes singing her bear’s praises, Mrs. Fitz-Pea invites him in. The digital artwork has a retro look, and there is diversity in the classroom, including an African-American teacher. Bespectacled Adelaide, pale-skinned and dark-haired, uses some sophisticated language and says: “Bears know that once you get a taste for books, you’ll discover trail after trail of adventure and clamber to new heights.”

Children will surely want their own large brown reading buddies after listening to this book about the joys and challenges of reading. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-654-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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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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Aims high but just doesn’t get there.

LITTLE FOX AND THE WILD IMAGINATION

Beware the imagination that cannot be contained.

When Poppa Fox comes to pick his son up after school he finds Little Fox a complete grump. Happily, Poppa Fox knows just the way to perk up his kiddo. One minute they’re pretending to be race cars, the next they’re dinos on the bus, and then later they’re blasting off to outer space to grab some ice cream. Unfortunately, all that sugar before dinner means that Little Fox’s imagination is now primed to go haywire. Now he’s a robo squid destroying a broccoli forest (rather than eating his dinner), then a shark devouring his dad, who is driving a mail truck (that is, splashing way too much in the tub). Things calm down by bedtime, but when Poppa Fox tells his son he will pick him up again the next day, Little Fox already has big plans. As books built on the power of imagination go, this story starts out strong but loses steam about the time Little Fox loses his focus. Santat’s art does more than its fair share of the heavy lifting, particularly when Little Fox’s imagination is supposed to go off the rails. Madcap adventure never looked this fun. Yet the book can’t quite nail the landing, shifting tone from one page turn to the next, leaving readers ultimately unsatisfied. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 33.8% of actual size.)

Aims high but just doesn’t get there. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21250-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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