With its air of nighttime mystery, this is one that readers will want to revisit again and again

READ REVIEW

BEAR AND WOLF

A bear and a wolf share a wintertime idyll.

In the first double-page spread, readers look over the top of Bear’s head to a doglike figure in the middle distance, bare trees receding into the distance on either side to create depth. The following spread repeats the image, only from behind Wolf’s pointy-eared head. Bear explains that she is “out for a walk to feel the cold on my face, and to enjoy the quiet of the woods when it snows.” Likewise, Wolf is “out for a walk to feel the cold under my paws, and to listen to the crunching of the snow as I walk.” The two walk together, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest in winter, all evoked in quietly powerful sensory language. Readers who have met Salmieri through his illustrations for Adam Rubin’s hectic Dragons Love Tacos books may be surprised at the contemplative nature of this one. The use of gouache, watercolor, and crushed colored pencil gives his paintings a lovely soft texture, while the steady verticality of the trees and the consistent placement of text in a strip at the bottom of each spread lend them a feeling of calm serenity. The addition of pinks and purples to the grays and blues of a winter night chases away the bone-chilling cold.

With its air of nighttime mystery, this is one that readers will want to revisit again and again . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59270-238-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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