Stalking undetected into your heart, this book effectively feeds the ninja need.

READ REVIEW

NINJA BABY

Ninjas have appeared recently in day cares as well as dojos, but how does a toddler ninja react when she meets the ultimate Kung Fu Master?

Nina was born a ninja, a fact apparent when she karate-chops the doctor who gives her bottom a gentle, welcoming thump. In no time she’s mastered the arts of the sneak attack (purloining doughnuts), vanishing (scaling the mobile above her crib), and hand-to-hand combat (diaper changes—need we say more?). All is more or less well until time goes by, and another ninja baby enters the home. Nina notes that the baby is clearly a Master by the way he disarms his captors and makes them carry him everywhere. After a quick tantrum, Nina realizes that she has a thing or two to learn from her equal in the ninja arts. Parents will naturally understand Zeltser’s wry metaphor, but the book is also an original take on the ways in which children may cope with new baby siblings (in this case, emulating their siblings’ more cuddly aspects). All the while, Goode’s sublime ink-and-watercolor drawings keep the violence in check and render even the most malicious tantrum nothing short of a magnificent exercise in technique. The image of Nina and the baby standing together, fists up for combat, is both hysterical and adorable.

Stalking undetected into your heart, this book effectively feeds the ninja need. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3542-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A slim, feel-good story, as light and airy as the rainbows that grace its pages.

NOT QUITE NARWHAL

Being true to yourself means embracing differences and striding (or paddling) fearlessly into the world.

Emerging from a giant clam, baby unicorn Kelp lives among narwhals, believing he’s just not as good as everyone else at swimming, appreciating a squid dinner, or breathing underwater (he sports a glass diving helmet—with a gasket-encircled hole for his horn). Swept close to shore one day, he spies for the first time an adult unicorn and, struck by the resemblance to himself, totters onto solid ground. The “land narwhals” explain to him that they—and he—are unicorns. Kelp’s blissful new life of learning to do special unicorn things amid sparkles and rainbows is punctuated by sadness over the narwhal friends he left behind. Upon returning to his watery home, Kelp learns that the narwhals knew all along that he was actually a unicorn. Following a brief internal tussle over where he truly belongs, Kelp recognizes that he doesn’t have to be just one thing or another and happily unites his friends at the shoreline. As seen in Sima’s soft, digital illustrations, Kelp is adorable, and she evokes both undersea and aboveground environments artfully. The message is an appealing one that could speak to many family situations relating to multiple identities, but the central dilemma is resolved so quickly and easily that there is little room for emotional engagement.

A slim, feel-good story, as light and airy as the rainbows that grace its pages. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6909-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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