A lovely story of using empathy to work through culture clashes.

THE MONSTER DETECTOR

From the Big Foot & Little Foot series , Vol. 2

Sasquatch Hugo and human Boone deal with monsters, stereotypes, and cultural misunderstandings in the follow-up to Big Foot and Little Foot (2018).

After three years spent collecting wrappers from Mad Marvin’s Monster Cards, Hugo has finally saved up enough to send in for a prize. What arrives is a wristwatch-style monster detector filled with weechie-weechie moths that will flap their wings noisily when monsters are near. Exploring Widdershins Cavern in search of monsters, the detector guides Hugo to a secret entrance to the Big Wide World—where green fur and bones indicate the presence of the Green Whistler, a creature rumored to eat young squidges like him. Meanwhile, home-schooled Boone turns up at the Academy for Curious Squidges, wanting to attend; while only one of the sasquatch kids is openly prejudiced against humans, Boone endures an escalating string of misunderstandings that’s ended only by another crisis—the reappearance of the Green Whistler. Budding cryptozoologists Boone and Hugo pursue only to discover one last misunderstanding and a family history of cross-species friendship. The sasquatch humor and heroes’ earnestness make for a compelling story with natural flow, and the turnabout scenarios in which white Boone operates as a minority among the sasquatches are thoughtfully done.

A lovely story of using empathy to work through culture clashes. (final art unseen) (Fantasy. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3122-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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Hee haw.

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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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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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