This will be comforting for many readers.

READ REVIEW

THE TIDE

A beloved grandfather’s memories ebb and flow.

A small child muses that Grandpa “sometimes…forgets things” and “sometimes…gets confused.” Still, while the narrator, Mommy, and Grandpa are at the beach, they engage in favorite activities together and watch the tide come in. The child is comforted to recall also having needed help in forgetful moments and also occasionally having behaved in perplexing ways. The child’s loving, easy forgiveness of Grandpa’s differences leads to understanding and acceptance of his predicament even though “sometimes, I get upset.” The child deals with these feelings—even the unsettling idea that Grandpa might forget his grandchild—by thinking about how scary forgetfulness must be. The author’s use of the tide as a metaphor for the way Grandpa’s memories softly drift in and out works persuasively. The simple strategies the protagonist employs to cope with the changes in Grandpa’s mental state are helpfully and naturally incorporated into the narrative. The reassuring, satisfying ending allows that loving family closeness can still prevail, particularly in dementia’s earlier stages. Artwork is loose and appealing, and the colorful, refreshing seashore scenes are inviting. Protagonist and family appear white; other persons in the background are depicted as ethnically and physically diverse.

This will be comforting for many readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-141-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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Precious—but timely and comforting all the same.

WHILE WE CAN'T HUG

From the Hedgehog and Tortoise Story series

The two creatures who fulfilled each other’s yearning for physical contact in The Hug (2019) find alternative ways to connect in a time of social distancing.

Blushing and smiling and looking every bit as sweet as they did in their original meet-cute, Hedgehog and Tortoise respond to Owl’s reassurance that “there are lots of ways to show someone you love them” by standing on opposing pages and sending signals, letters, dances, air kisses, and songs across the gutter. Demonstrating their mutual love and friendship, they regard each other fondly across the gap through sun and storm, finally gesturing air hugs beneath a rainbow of colors and stars. “They could not touch. / They could not hug. // But they both knew / that they were loved.” In line with the minimalist narrative and illustrations there is no mention of the enforced separation’s cause nor, aside from the titular conjunction, any hint of its possible duration. Still, its core affirmation is delivered in a simple, direct, unmistakable way, and if the thematic connection with the previous outing seems made to order for a marketing opportunity, it does address a widespread emotional need in young (and maybe not so young) audiences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 78% of actual size.)

Precious—but timely and comforting all the same. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5713-6558-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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