Drag queens may throw some shade at Ogilvy’s wardrobe, but that’s this book’s only flaw.

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OGILVY

Clothes do not make the bunny.

When Ogilvy, a bunny of unknown gender, moves to a new town, they are initially excited to play with other bunnies in their neighborhood. But Ogilvy finds themselves the center of unwanted attention because of their attire: a long, knit turtleneck. The local rules are soon broken down: Bunnies in dresses can knit and play baseball, and bunnies in sweaters can create art and go rock climbing. No crossovers allowed. But what is Ogilvy wearing? Is it a dress or a sweater? Ogilvy decides daily it’s one or the other depending on their mood, until run-ins with the unofficial fashion police finally come to a head. In that moment, Ogilvy finds their voice and convinces the town that it’s OK to break the mold and try new things. It’s a strong message told subtly. The book is multifaceted, making it relevant to everyone, but it will particularly resonate with gender-nonconforming kids, transgender kids, nonbinary kids, and kids who are exploring gender fluidity. It does a lot of heavy lifting. Underwood’s rhyming text flows smoothly and adeptly functions without third-person pronouns, making Ogilvy’s particular gender identity a non-issue. McBeth’s illustrations digitally collage knitwear onto cartoon bunnies and match the mood nicely, but it is odd that Ogilvy’s clothes are a duller palette than the other bunnies’.

Drag queens may throw some shade at Ogilvy’s wardrobe, but that’s this book’s only flaw. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-15176-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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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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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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