Sisters with too much learn to appreciate their differences in this lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek tale.

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THE TWO MUTCH SISTERS

When the titular two Mutch sisters finally collect too much, one sister moves into her own house, prompting the other to make her own dramatic change.

Ruby and Violet Mutch, both white, started their obsessive collecting as little girls. “As the sisters grew, so did their collection” of matched possessions, including sundials and snorkels, clavichords and canoes, gargoyles and glockenspiels, until their house “was stuffed to the shingles with two of everything.” Eventually, an overwhelmed Ruby strikes out on her own, moving her half of the collection to her own new house on the other side of town, where she arranges it as she wants. Ruby’s pleased she’s “made everything just right” but feels something’s missing and isn’t sure what until Violet unleashes a bold plan to ensure the Mutch sisters “never had too much of anything” and just enough of each other. The title’s clever wordplay, the paired collections of bizarre items, and the visually jam-packed pages reinforce the theme of “too much.” Cartoonlike ink-and-watercolor illustrations use bold outlines, bright colors, and whimsical details to chronicle the Mutch sisters’ amusing journey from fledging collectors to full-fledged hoarders and from separation (traced through a double-page map) to contented reunion.

Sisters with too much learn to appreciate their differences in this lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-43074-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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