A big treat.

READ REVIEW

A BIG HELP

Tragedy. Badger has lost his teddy in this Spanish import.

Bear comes along and offers to help. Through the meadow, under bushes (“since things get lost easily in low and dark places”), over the lake, under the water, and up in the trees our two—make that three (Ladybug is also helping)—intrepid explorers leave no stone unturned. Bear asks the same question of everyone they meet: “Have you seen Badger’s teddy?” Alas, the answer is always a disheartening “No.” Bear is more distraught than Badger, who has clearly been having a great time. Apologizing for his apparent failure to help, Bear is totally befuddled when Badger asks, “Help me with what?” The happy Badger then promptly drags his “teddy” off for some more adventures. Swiss-German author Fehr writes in English, his simple, wryly funny, patterned text lending itself to group participation. The real winners here, however, are Leroy’s bold-outlined watercolor illustrations. From concerned, ever present Ladybug, never mentioned in the text, to the chuckle-inducing visual denouement, the Belgian artist’s humor carries the tale in grand style. Badger’s expression of joyful wonder as the world unfolds around him is a delight. Adding to readers’ enjoyment, characters from previous encounters wander obliviously into new scenes, creating an engaging sense of continuity. The simultaneous release of both the Spanish (via Luis Amavisca’s translation) and English editions is sure to be welcomed by classrooms and bilingual households alike.

A big treat. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-84-17123-21-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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