This richly illustrated tale is both emotionally compelling and thought-provoking, and its timely message of understanding...

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THE TIGER PRINCE

In this Chinese folktale, a tigress lashes out in grief and anger after her cubs have been killed by hunters, attacking several villages.

Before the king can send his army to destroy the tigress, an old woman who predicts the future sees that the only way to achieve peace is for the king to send the tigress his little son, Wen. Sure enough, the tigress’s motherly instincts take over when she finds the young boy in the forest all alone. Not only does she protect and raise the boy, but she stops terrorizing the king’s villages. Over the years, she teaches Wen everything he needs to know about the forest. Until one day, the king’s armies and the tigress meet again, and Wen breaks the circle of violence through his understanding of both worlds. Years later, Wen brings his own son to the forest to be taught by the tigress, so that “he can become a prince.” Chen’s expressive brush paintings shift deftly between fearsome and warm, conveying the tigress’s inner conflict using body language and expressions without anthropomorphizing her. Readers will recognize these characteristics and conflicts within themselves and realize that only bridges of compassion will truly build lasting peace.

This richly illustrated tale is both emotionally compelling and thought-provoking, and its timely message of understanding and compassion will resonate with readers of all ages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68137-294-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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