Parental love, sound ecological advice, and breathtaking illustrations all in one.

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YOU'RE SNUG WITH ME

Starting with their birth in a den below the snowdrifts, Mama Bear nurtures her cubs and describes the world they will encounter in the spring.

The mother polar bear tells them that they will walk “where the land will let us walk” and “As long as the ice stays frozen, we will never go hungry.” The sea creatures pictured in this spread are recognizable but also almost phantasmagorical in the intricate designs, full of lines and dots inspired by traditional Indian art and looking beautiful here in this very different setting. Pictures full of stars and snowflakes swirl. “Terns and geese fly through the skies.” The rhythmic quality of their undulating forms is quite striking, and it mirrors the sonorous text. Mama gives her young ones lessons, good for human children (and adults) as well as polar bears: “We should only ever take what we need.” In telling them about the ocean and the land, the darkness of winter and the light of summer, the animals all around them, and their need to become independent after she has taught them all she knows, she reassuringly repeats the refrain: “But hush now, you’re snug with me.” In a note to readers, the author provides some additional facts about polar bears and urges everyone to be good stewards of the Earth.

Parental love, sound ecological advice, and breathtaking illustrations all in one. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911373-47-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lantana

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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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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