Cardboard boxes and duct tape are sure to turn up missing in many a household as spaceships roar into screen-free adventures.

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SPACE BOY AND THE SNOW MONSTER

Sneering punk snowmen—check. Crazed killer snow bunny—check. Rampaging fanged snow monster—check. Space boy Niko’s third rip-roaring adventure is ready for takeoff.

But trusty co-pilot Radar the robot is missing! All clues lead to the Snow Monster’s lair on Planet Ice. Upon landing, Niko spots the monster—who sounds suspiciously like his big sister, Posh. The Posh Monster is wily and has an army of menacing, mohawked snowpunks awaiting the indomitable space boy and his space dog, Tag. They’re attacked. Frozen projectiles fly! Ducking and weaving, Niko follows Snow Bunny’s tracks to Radar—the rescue mission is a success. But wait! The frosty cottontail’s eyes are glowing red, and are those fangs? “Killer Bunnies are not to be trusted!” Can they possibly escape? Niko’s impassioned play-by-play narrative flawlessly mimics that of kids boisterously immersed in dramatic worldbuilding. Regan’s minichapters and short, exclamatory sentences sustain the escalating tension, while Neubecker’s wacky illustrations augment the humor by orchestrating action shots counter to Niko’s script. For instance, as Niko blasts into space to find “lost” Radar, the poor robot is shown desperately hanging onto the ship’s horizontal stabilizer, and the “cautiously” advancing dog is pictured cavorting above the drifts with joyous abandon. Each detail-packed frame energetically propels the story forward with chuckle-inducing results.

Cardboard boxes and duct tape are sure to turn up missing in many a household as spaceships roar into screen-free adventures. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59078-957-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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