The bright colors of the pictures will appeal to little kids, but overall, this pales in creativity to other grandmother...

BEST GRANDMA IN THE WORLD

This German import portrays the relationships of seven animal grandmas and grandchildren in rhyming verse.

The first grandmother-grandchild pair sets up an expectation that the book is an animal alphabet, but it’s not: “My grandma has a treat for me— / she’s baked the ABCs! / I start out by eating A / And make my way to B.” A grandmother rabbit looks on as her grandchild eats letter-shaped cookies. Each double-page spread features a different animal and activity: frogs share a string-can phone; the elephants gather flowers for a bouquet; the moles dig for buried treasure; the grandma sheep knits a sweater for the grandchild’s teddy bear; the bears go sledding. The last pair is a human grandma and grandchild, both Caucasian, sitting in a hammock: “My grandma sings me a lullaby, / rocking me to and fro— / ‘Rock-a-bye-baby, in the treetop’— /and off to sleep I go.” The highly saturated illustrations bleed off the page and add amusing details, such as the grandmother frog’s large-brimmed hat and pearls and the grandmother mole’s bright pink gardening gloves. The text is disjointed and totally dependent on the artwork (for an adult reader) to identify the kind of animal on each spread. Companion title The Best Grandpa in the World! presents different animal pairs (except for humans) but is otherwise virtually identical in concept and flaws.

The bright colors of the pictures will appeal to little kids, but overall, this pales in creativity to other grandmother stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4225-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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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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