BABY BLESSINGS

A PRAYER FOR THE DAY YOU ARE BORN

A baby is born and he will “always be loved with a love that knows no bounds.” So begins Jordan’s characterization of parental love and support. The illustrations depict the family through the years, as the infant becomes a toddler and then a boy with dreams of his own. Unfortunately, as the text takes on religious undertones the prose becomes labored, as does Ransome’s talented brush. The artist’s photo-realistically rendered illustrations, done in a warm palette, tenderly portray a devoted African-American family. However, the choice to interpret the text literally confines the illustrator, whose best work is loose and spontaneous. Here he struggles to find a balance between mimicking reality and expressing it. Despite these drawbacks, the overall work, with its simple design and single-sentence structure, has an appeal until the end, when a previously used image is duplicated, leaving readers to wonder whether there was a lack of artwork or an editing mistake. Regrettably, it’s distracting enough to diminish the thoughtfulness of the story. An unsatisfactory execution for what was a lovely idea with an ideal author-and-artist pairing. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5362-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2009

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PANDA KISSES

When a young panda asks each of his parents for a kiss, they give him choices: “A soft kiss? / A sweet kiss? / A sticky bamboo treat kiss?” High or low, in the sun or the rain, from a bunny or a fish? In the end the young panda determines that “There are many kisses that will do! / But the best kiss is—from both of you!” A large font, rhythm and rhyme, picture clues and a low word count per page will help emergent readers succeed. Widdowson’s bright illustrations scatter Chinese elements throughout, adding international flair, and sprinkle other animals exchanging smooches for extra interest. A sweet treat to share with a beginning reader. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84562-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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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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