Yes, it’s preachy and has a too-easily-come-by resolution, but for too many kids, it’s a necessary lesson, and the rhyme...

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LUCIA LACORTE, POOR SPORT

From the Little Boost series

Lucia, a yellow llama, is a sore loser and a gloating winner, and when you’re the founder and president of the Get Gaming Club, that’s a real problem.

Lucia’s downturned mouth and body language speak volumes when she spies a new sign outside the GGC meeting place: “Try your best / have lots of fun / smile and shake / when the game is done,” a repeated refrain. “I did not approve this sign,” she grumps. Lucia confronts the club members, a diverse array of anthropomorphic animals, but no one admits the truth: that they all contributed. The angry llama tells those who “have a problem with [her] club” that they “can just leave.” None do, but no one has any fun that day, and the next week, the GGC is empty. Lucia goes home to play her games with Grandpa, but he turns the tables and exhibits the behaviors Lucia is notorious for. Lucia reacts as her GGC friends do, but this time she has a rhyme to teach Grandpa how to be a good sport. At an emergency meeting, Lucia apologizes and recites the new club pledge, which readers will have learned by now. Morea’s simple cartoon illustrations keep the focus on the characters’ interactions and their spot-on facial expressions and body language. The pastel palette does little to advance the mood, but it is sunny.

Yes, it’s preachy and has a too-easily-come-by resolution, but for too many kids, it’s a necessary lesson, and the rhyme will stick with readers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5158-4028-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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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