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JAKE AND THE PURPLE UNICORN

JAKE'S DREAMLAND

Children will relate to the endearing canine at the center of this zany adventure.

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A puppy dreams about wild escapades in this second installment of a picture-book series.

In Hardy’s appealing sequel, a shaggy, white puppy named Jake, a relatable child substitute, falls asleep in his cozy bed and is off to dreamland, looking for adventure. Jake finds it, meeting up with his pal Tedd the toad and driving the amphibian’s car to a forest where the canine makes a new friend, Gwen the Unicorn. Gwen invites Jake to jump on her back and hold on as she soars up into the sky and then straight down to the ocean floor, where diversions await. Among the numerous undersea sights that the author’s rhyming text describes to tickle funny bones are “Wizards and lizards / and goats on floats / They saw sharks named Mark / and seals with wheels.” LL’s colorful, digital art enhances the overall gentle silliness with a wealth of visual whimsy: A seal wears blue roller skates; a goat lounges on a pizza float; whales knit sweaters; and starfish play basketball. (Readers will have fun, too, going through the pages to spot Jake’s squirrel friend in each image.) After Jake wakes up and a certain discovery makes him wonder if he is “really awake, or am I still dreaming?” Hardy invites reader involvement: “He had no clue what was really true / so tell me, dear friend / do you??”

Children will relate to the endearing canine at the center of this zany adventure.

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7363235-4-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christine Hardy DBA Jake's World

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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. 28, 2018

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MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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