A book to be shared, savored, and discussed.

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GILDA THE GIANT SHEEP

Gilda is a giant sheep who produces so much wool and milk that the 20 shepherds in charge of her are tired. When they decide to sell her for mutton, Gilda runs away. Where will Gilda find a new home?

As Gilda runs away she wonders about the ungrateful shepherds who would turn her into mutton stew: “Is it too much to ask for a sheep to grow old in peace?” Eventually, Gilda arrives in a city vaguely resembling New York City. A dramatic two-page spread shows a panicked Gilda almost as tall as the buildings, running down the street as the pedestrians snap photos on their smartphones. Clearly, the city is not home. A circus, with its caged and sad-looking animals, is not home either. When Gilda overcomes her fear of water to rescue a drowning (regular-sized) sheep, the grateful ovine takes her home. There she finds friendship, purpose (in scaring the wolves away), and, most importantly, a home. Spanish author/illustrator Urberuaga's pictures are as multilayered as his story, conveying many emotions with a few deceptively simple lines. First published in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands 25 years ago, the tale is now being published in the United States, in both English and Spanish, for the first time, with updated illustrations that depict multiracial if tiny humans in the backgrounds. The translated English edition is just as delightful as the Spanish version.

A book to be shared, savored, and discussed. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-84-17123-24-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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 must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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