Appealing in subject and presentation, this will be a welcome addition to primary-grade nonfiction collections.

BIG RED KANGAROO

In the hot, dry lands of central Australia, big Red leads his band of kangaroos through a night.

A band of kangaroos is called a mob, and Red is the mob leader. Not only must he lead his group to the woods for shelter from nighttime storms and daytime heat and to grassy areas for food, he must keep a wary eye out for other male kangaroos (potential challengers) and other enemies. The text is presented in dual narratives. One, surprisingly lyrical, focuses on Red’s activities; the other, straightforward and distinguished by an italicized typeface, adds details about kangaroo behavior in general. Charcoal drawings digitally splashed with the brick red of that dusty world show the band and some of the plants and animals that share their world: clumps of spinifex grasses, wallaroos, thorny devils, dingos, a goanna and a spinifex hopping mouse. Although these are identified in the text, readers with no prior knowledge of Australian flora and fauna might find the attractive art a little too allusive for easy understanding. But the narrative arc will keep them engaged and perhaps inspire further research. The book concludes with general information about kangaroos. The front endpapers show kangaroo tracks, repeated in many illustrations.

Appealing in subject and presentation, this will be a welcome addition to primary-grade nonfiction collections. (index) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7075-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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?

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for...

DOG DAYS

From the Carver Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. 

Gavin is new to his neighborhood and Carver Elementary. He likes his new friend, Richard, and has a typically contentious relationship with his older sister, Danielle. When Gavin’s desire to impress Richard sets off a disastrous chain of events, the boy struggles to evade responsibility for his actions. “After all, it isn’t his fault that Danielle’s snow globe got broken. Sure, he shouldn’t have been in her room—but then, she shouldn’t be keeping candy in her room to tempt him. Anybody would be tempted. Anybody!” opines Gavin once he learns the punishment for his crime. While Gavin has a charming Everyboy quality, and his aversion to Aunt Myrtle’s yapping little dog rings true, little about Gavin distinguishes him from other trouble-prone protagonists. He is, regrettably, forgettable. Coretta Scott King Honor winner English (Francie, 1999) is a teacher whose storytelling usually benefits from her day job. Unfortunately, the pizzazz of classroom chaos is largely absent from this series opener.

This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here’s hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97044-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more