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POPPLETON AT CHRISTMAS

From the Poppleton series , Vol. 5

A lovely choice to help emergent readers get into the Christmas spirit.

Poppleton the pig celebrates the season in three delightful stories.

Each tale presents the charming porcine at his most conscientious, gracious self. In “The Jar,” good-natured Poppleton considers his BFFs’ preferences and needs above all when making his gift choices. When his money runs out before he can purchase the just-right item he wants for llama pal Cherry Sue, the store’s manager comes up with an ingenious solution. In “Snow,” Poppleton wishes for a white Christmas, but the weather isn’t cooperating, so he takes matters into his own trotters with the aid of dozens of artificial-snow-filled aerosol cans. When he’s done, the whole neighborhood “looks like Christmas.” In “Midnight,” Poppleton and buddies Cherry Sue, Fillmore the goat, and Hudson the mouse celebrate a festive Christmas Eve with cider and cookies, sparkling candles and tree lights, secret Christmas wishes, and, before going home to bed, a walk to wish “a good Christmas to the animals of the night: the owls, the deer, and the raccoons.” This sweet easy chapter book overflows with warmth and coziness and exudes the true spirit of the holiday season: friendship, thoughtfulness, and kindness. The cheery, colorful illustrations and endearing, expressive animal protagonists are well suited to the text. Backmatter bonuses include a guide to drawing Poppleton and a prompt for creating an illustrated story.

A lovely choice to help emergent readers get into the Christmas spirit. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-56677-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Acorn/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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