A playful spin on the new-baby theme.

READ REVIEW

LITTLE BOY WHO LIVED DOWN THE DRAIN

A misheard nursery rhyme gives rise to an imaginary friend who helps a little girl overcome loneliness.

Sally, whom watercolor-and-pencil illustrations depict as a white girl with light skin and sandy-brown hair, thinks her mother ends the “Baa Baa Black Sheep” rhyme she sings to her baby brother with a line about “the little boy… / Who lives down the DRAIN.” This inspires her to try to talk with the unseen, pipe-dwelling boy when taking a bath. She voices feelings of sadness and isolation about being too little to join her big sisters in their play, as well as jealousy for her busy parents’ attention. Although she’s comforted by this imagined audience, she wishes she could hear the little boy respond. “I know you’re probably trying, but you need to try something different!” she cries, and the resulting echo inspires her to try something different to change the dynamic with her family. Her efforts ultimately meet with success, not only because her family members respond positively, but because her perspective changes as she realizes, for example, “that much like her favourite toys, she had to share her parents, too.” A twist ending returns readers to the nursery rhyme that opened the story, and this time Sally hears about “the little boy who lives down the LANE,” whom she imagines anew.

A playful spin on the new-baby theme. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55455-395-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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