Readers will hear the “clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop” in every image of this astonishing book.

TONY

Poet Galing (1917-2013) leads Tony, a dairy delivery horse, through the veil of memory, encantatory phrasing—circling and repetitious—calling him plodding from pre-dawn into the present, his sturdy flank barely expanding with the effort.

“Tony // that was his name // he was such a / wonderful horse // and pulled a milk / truck / for Tom, the young / driver // Tom Jones, / in the early hours of the / morning, // pulling the wagon loaded / with milk, butter, / and eggs….” Stead’s astonishing pencil illustrations, simultaneously granular and silkily suggestive, deliver corporeal portraits of Tony’s musculature, his lashes, cocked ear, subdued sentience, and pathos. Her foggy, blotted green-and-gold palette (achieved through monoprinting) suggests not only nocturnal darkness and lamplight, but also the patina of coppered time. Gauzy line drawings and matte colors surface in ample creamy, blank space, just as memories float up out of the subconscious. At once moody and poignant, murky and clear, intensely personal and vague, atmospheric and studiously specific, the pictures and language cohere magically to remind readers how memories often shimmer and shape-shift. Young readers will simply marvel at the poem’s lulling, looping cadence and at the pictures’ extraordinary empathy and likeness—fitting enough for a story about a horse, his driver, eggs, milk, butter, and a man’s pure, simple appreciation.

Readers will hear the “clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop” in every image of this astonishing book. (Picture book. 2-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-308-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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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