A marvelous portrayal of the humor and uncertainty surrounding growth—and the comfort in having a fellow traveler.

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THE OTHER DUCKS

This Duck (a confident female) and That Duck (a trepidatious male) enjoy each other’s companionship in the “wadey-water” until discovering a wider world makes the extrovert wish for more friends.

This Duck yearns to lead a “more ducky” line when they move about, prompting her to wish for Other Ducks. Yeomans’ language is a delightful combination of the childlike and the existential. When questioned about the meaning of “Other Ducks,” she replies, “Like us, only not us.” Sheban’s soft, textured compositions are rendered in watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite; they start out sunny, with warm greens and yellows in the foreground and cool lavender shadows and shapes on the horizon. The lighting and mood change with the seasons and situations. As they explore, This Duck, who is observant but not always accurate, speaks to her mate in ways that will remind adults of an old married couple. Their misunderstandings and postures are humorous, as when they see their reflections and attempt to coax their new liquid companions into line. Nature’s pull leads the pair to follow their autumnal instincts—learning to fly and falling into formation with others of their kind. While that experience is exhilarating, it pales in comparison to the feeling next summer when four adorable ducklings bring up the rear.

A marvelous portrayal of the humor and uncertainty surrounding growth—and the comfort in having a fellow traveler. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-502-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.

LITTLE JOE CHICKAPIG

Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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