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MONKEY COLORS

Simple and effective, a charming early reader about variety in the natural world.

“Monkeys come in many colors.”

Repeating this statement as a refrain, Lunde and Wynne describe 12 monkey species in simple sentences. The monkeys are grouped into three categories: four whose fur is a single all-over color (yellow, red, brown, orange); four who have colorful features or stripes; and four whose colors vary with sex or age or gender or who are truly multicolored. Each individual watercolor-and-ink illustration includes a tiny label; most also show a simplified version of the animal’s habitat. Sections begin with the refrain on a double-page spread. The first spread shows all 12 species; the second, the first four described; then eight, and finally all 12 in a museum diorama. These offer an identification game, an additional way for readers to engage with the material. The backmatter includes another picture of each species plus an interesting fact or two, as well as a world map showing where each can be found. A final author’s note on the copyright page reminds readers that the 12 would never be seen together in the wild, only in a natural history museum. The author and illustrator, who both work at such museums, have collaborated successfully before, most recently in Hello, Baby Beluga (2011).

Simple and effective, a charming early reader about variety in the natural world. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-57091-741-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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