Children less patient (or good-natured) than Johnny aren’t likely to take a cue from his example, but the episode certainly...

READ REVIEW

HUNGRY JOHNNY

Family and community values underpin this tale of a young Ojibwe child forced to wait while local elders get first crack at a communal feast.

“I like to EAT, EAT, EAT,” is Johnny’s constant refrain as his grandma repeatedly restrains him from chowing down on wild rice, fry bread and luscious sweet rolls before and during a banquet at the community center: “Bekaa,” wait, she admonishes, “we let the elders eat first.” So well does Johnny finally absorb this lesson that, when his turn does at last come, he hesitates not at all to call an elderly latecomer over to take his seat at the table before grabbing a single bite. Happily, instead of eating, she plunks him in her lap, and after that, it’s goodbye, sweet roll. Ballinger’s illustrations are clearly influenced by an animation aesthetic, and young readers may find the huge, staring eyes and oddly contorted mouths of the figures a distraction, but it’s great to see a trim, modern grandma in jeans and a baseball cap, her hair initially tied back with a scrunchie. In both text and illustrations, the attitude-modeling is delivered in a gentle, nonlecturing way. Both author and illustrator are members of the Milles Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

Children less patient (or good-natured) than Johnny aren’t likely to take a cue from his example, but the episode certainly opens the way to further discussion and socialization. (Ojibwe glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-87351-926-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more