This is the book about skateboarding female rabbits you didn’t know you were missing.


From the Pepper and Frannie series

The titular rabbits model tender, generous friendship in Odell’s (I’m Done!, by Gretchen Brandenberg McClellan, 2018) authorial debut.

Best friends Pepper, a white rabbit with one black ear, and Frannie, a flamboyantly outfitted brown rabbit, both girls, love having adventures. Pepper’s idea of a good adventure, however, involves plans, maps, and precision, while Frannie revels in spontaneity. Refreshingly, each friend’s outlook, interests, and impeccable personal style are presented as equally valid, showing (rather than telling) that there’s no one right way to be a girl. When Frannie misses the bus to the Wheels in the Woods skateboarding festival, a helmeted Pepper saves the day with a ride on her motorcycle, then reveals that she’s reluctant to try skateboarding herself. With Frannie’s persistent encouragement, emphasized via faux hand-lettered speech bubbles, Pepper eventually does—with pleasantly surprising results. Sparse lines of text give the mixed-media illustrations an equal role in the storytelling; despite the bold contrast of black text on bright white pages, the text and pacing maintain a sweet, playful tone alongside soft, painterly organic shapes dominated by shades of green and pink. Delightful details abound, from Pepper’s expressions of concentration as she tries “again, and again” to Frannie’s leopard-spotted skating outfit.

This is the book about skateboarding female rabbits you didn’t know you were missing. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62414-660-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Hee haw.

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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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