Soul-stirring and sure to put readers in a festive mood.

READ REVIEW

I GOT THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

Christmas spirit is expressed in joyous and reflective onomatopoeic exclamations in this new holiday staple, a follow-up to I Got the Rhythm (2014).

With her first yawn in the morning, the young black protagonist, coily ’fro on full display, excitedly wakes to the spirit of the season. Snowflakes flutter across bright illustrations, encouraging readers to inhale, feel, taste, and listen to all things Christmas as embodied in loving detail in the rhythmic language. The winter delights include ice skating (“SWISH SWISH”), caroling (“FA LA LA LA LA”), and the sparkling of Christmas lights (“BLING BLING”), whetting the appetites of young readers as they count down the days until Christmas. Each page sets a different scene, but the little girl, now with two adorable afro puffs, steals each one as she bops around town. Whether she’s letting the steam from roasted chestnuts curl around her face or advocating for others with Santa, she makes sure to show that the spirit of Christmas is not just the traditions enjoyed, but also the actions taken to share kindness and joy with others, because “THE SPIRIT IS YOU!” Author and illustrator capture children’s insistent acknowledgment of what adults often pretend not to see, in this case homeless members of the community, and they also emphasize the strength of will that allows the young protagonist to rise mightily to the occasion.

Soul-stirring and sure to put readers in a festive mood. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-528-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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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