Fluffy and shallow but sweet, with an exuberant effect, from the sparking glitter on the cover to the cast party with...

PRETTY MINNIE IN HOLLYWOOD

A white French girl named Françoise takes her tiny dog along when she accompanies her fashion-designer mother to Hollywood to work on a movie in this second series outing (Pretty Minnie in Paris, 2014).

Minnie is a pampered teacup Chihuahua who enjoys an opulent lifestyle with Françoise and her mother in their Paris apartment that has a view of the Eiffel Tower. They pack matching outfits for their trip, fly together on the plane (with the dog in her own seat), and enjoy first-class accommodations and sightseeing in Hollywood. Françoise and Minnie visit the movie set, where they meet a snarly pink poodle with a starring role in the film. The poodle acts up and is conveniently fired, so Minnie gets her part in the movie. The slight plot by bestselling author Steel is told in polished but predictable prose, with a perky, sparkly tone matched by the jewel-toned, oversized illustrations. Valiant’s detailed illustrations give Minnie an engaging personality that’s hard to resist, and young readers will enjoy Minnie’s tiny costumes and fancy accessories. The hotel staff and cast and crew of the movie include people of different ethnicities, including the film’s African-American director.

Fluffy and shallow but sweet, with an exuberant effect, from the sparking glitter on the cover to the cast party with “Pupcake Cupcakes” at the end. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53755-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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Hee haw.

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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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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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