A tender, brilliant tour de force from the Netherlands.

LITTLE FOX

An exuberant young fox plays joyfully among birds and animals, not always paying attention to possible dangers.

He cannot resist racing behind two purple butterflies, causing him to zoom past the edge of an outcropping, falling heavily. His story is first told wordlessly in detailed illustrations that continue as text begins while he is unconscious, narrating a dream in which he recalls his development from birth, playing with his brothers and sisters, being cared for and taught by his parents, and having adventures in the world around him. A human child on a bicycle appears, whose activities are presented wordlessly. The narration picks up Fox’s dream again and comes full circle with the child finding Little Fox and returning him home safely to his fox family. Van de Vendel’s text describes the action in carefully constructed stream-of-consciousness, always exactly complementing Tolman’s remarkable illustrations, which are rendered in a mesmerizing variety of forms and techniques. (Production notes at the end provide insight into their creation.) They invite readers into a beautiful, fully realized dreamscape. Backgrounds are gray-green, white, and soft tan, with birds and animals accurately drawn and softly hued. Little Fox and his family are seen in the brightest possible shade of orange, and the kind human child, who is White, also has bright orange hair and clothing. Readers will cheer Little Fox’s full recovery while they study each page to find every glorious detail.

A tender, brilliant tour de force from the Netherlands. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64614-007-7

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 30

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more