Look for stronger food and friendship books than this one.

READ REVIEW

LORENZO, THE PIZZA-LOVING LOBSTER

Will involving kids in the cooking process help them try new foods? Lordon uses pizza-making to entice in this venture into new tastes.

After falling in love with a single slice of pizza, a lobster named Lorenzo tries his hand at re-creating the tasty treat. Unfortunately, Lorenzo cannot remember what was on the pizza, leading to repeated failures trying to recapture the treasured slice for his turtle friend Kalena. The absurd litany of unpalatable toppings includes sponge patties, jellyfish jelly, squid ink, and algae. Unsurprisingly, none of the combinations they try taste any good at all. The illustrations balance characters and scenery with speech bubbles, and they are engaging enough, although the main characters are a bit static, with cut-and-paste eyes and simple body shapes. When Kalena finds a real pizza pie, the duo surprisingly goes straight from zero to hero. “Let’s make a pizza with the correct ingredients. It’s so tasty I want more!” exclaims Lorenzo. The very next page depicts a backyard full of pizza-eating friends. Readers are never shown the process that results in the first successful pie, which leaves the author’s intent unclear: to promote pizza production? That seafood is bad? Instead, the message that pizza tastes better when shared with a friend is what remains.

Look for stronger food and friendship books than this one. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0228-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more