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

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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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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