When read with a TV-announcer voice, the exaggerated mayhem of text and illustration could make for a kooky KO at storytime.

READ REVIEW

RUSSELL WRESTLES THE RELATIVES

Mushy family reunions? With Russell’s family they’re more mashy than anything else.

Russell is a scrawny kid, and with only one day left before the family reunion, he has yet to devise a plan to escape the tickles, hair-tousles, handshakes, and hugs. His family members are pro wrestlers, so get-togethers can get physical fast. Hiding doesn’t get him past the opening doorbell. First his twin cousins “tag-team him with back-to-back Backbusters.” Then his uncle “Iron Arm” Murphy grabs his hand for an Earthquake Shake. When his cousin “Cora, The Cleaner” grabs him for a Spin Cycle hug, Russell slips out of her hold. After another smooth escape, Russell suddenly has the moves and the confidence to thwart all attempts at hugging—but can he block Grammy Dorothy’s trademark Kansas Crusher hug? Johnson’s jokey juxtaposition of family togetherness and pro-wrestling silliness will strike both a chord and a funny bone for little listeners. Duncan’s scratchy, colorful, digitally created, cartoon illustrations are full of goofy action and outrageous costumes. Russell and his mom are white, but skin tones and wrestler nicknames hint at a multiethnic extended family for Russell.

When read with a TV-announcer voice, the exaggerated mayhem of text and illustration could make for a kooky KO at storytime. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9159-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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