A slight “Little Mermaid”–esque tale with an abrupt, less-than satisfying ending.



From the NubeClassics series

What could be more magical than a moonbow?

Mimbi the seal and Kipo the sea turtle hear an amazing and terrifying legend from a storytelling octopus: Any sea creature gazing at the rare glow becomes human! Playing beneath the waves, the young friends are caught unawares by a storm. When they poke their heads through the water, a moonbow stretches overhead. Their miraculous transformations into children include clothing and the ability to speak in the tongue of a kindly white fisherman, who knows the legend and takes them home when he finds them on the beach. They want to return to their former selves, but the only means of accomplishing this, says the fisherman, is to swim beneath a wave of stars. This fable demands a huge suspension of disbelief. Brown glosses over the trauma of the transformation in three sentences. White-presenting Mimbi and black-presenting Kipo somehow understand human behaviors as well as language. Also, two rare phenomena, the moonbow and the wave of stars, conveniently occur within 24 hours. Wimmer seamlessly combines black-and-white sketches with sweet full-color spreads, helping to bridge many of the story’s gaps. The best element isn’t even a character in the story—it’s Mimbi’s triton-grasping mer-king doll. Readers will be charmed by the subtle changes in the mer-king’s expressions. A Spanish-language edition translated by Luis Amavisca will release simultaneously.

A slight “Little Mermaid”–esque tale with an abrupt, less-than satisfying ending. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-84-17673-41-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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


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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