Don’t expect the newest readers to sit still for this one. They’ll want to jump right into reading.

READ REVIEW

JUMP

From the I Like To Read series

One powerful verb, simply repeated, makes for an action-packed beginning reader.

The same winsome lad readers met in Bad Dog (2014) returns in another, even easier reader. The verb phrase “can jump” appears on every spread, while the subject—who is doing the jumping—changes. The repetitive text in a clear san serif type is always set on the left-hand side of each double-page spread, ensuring that new readers know exactly where to focus. McPhail’s pen-and-ink drawings tinted with watercolor against white backgrounds provide context clues. The blond, pale-skinned boy is quickly joined by a slightly darker-skinned girl with dark brown hair in an Afro. Familiar animals that jump are introduced first: a bug, a frog, a rabbit. The choice of animals grows increasingly fanciful: a kangaroo (with the two children riding in its pouch), a cow (jumping over the moon, of course), and a hippo. The next-to-last spread reprises all the jumpers and offers the straightforward text “We can jump.” The final spread, “You can jump,” shows the two children and the sneaker-clad feet of a third child jumping off the top corner of the page. The same pastoral and wordless farm scene opens and closes the book.

Don’t expect the newest readers to sit still for this one. They’ll want to jump right into reading. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3889-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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