Kids may want to have jumping contests of their own after reading this—just omit jetpacks.

FOX AND THE JUMPING CONTEST

A trickster jumps on a sneaky scheme to best all others in a contest.

Fox isn’t much of a jumper—amusingly illustrated in the frontmatter—but this doesn’t stop him from aiming to win first prize in competition. Instead of practicing rigorously, he dons a self-built jetpack to give him an extra boost. Other contestants gamely try, some faring better than others, and naturally, Rabbit effortlessly jumps highest. Thanks to his device, Fox leaps to extraordinary heights and is soon way out of bounds and out of sight, soaring into space. Unable to wait for Fox’s return, the judges begin the awards ceremony. As Rabbit ascends to first place, who should fall into the trophy cup? Why, Fox, who, astute readers will have noted, has been hurtling back toward Earth all the while and lands just in time to win—or does he? The text is drily witty, and the comical illustrations, rendered in pencils, watercolors, and ink and assembled digitally, are energetic and appealing, Children will enjoy seeing Rabbit and Fox tussle over the trophy and should appreciate the story’s funny outcome, representing a compromise of sorts. Animal competitors represent various species, and, in a nice touch, all (except Fox and Rabbit) demonstrate good self-esteem, fair play, and sportsmanship.

Kids may want to have jumping contests of their own after reading this—just omit jetpacks. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-239874-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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

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