Moral of the story: an excess of imagination may get you into trouble, but it’s clearly worth it.

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POPPY PICKLE

The perils of imagination reach their peak when a little girl unleashes an extraordinary ability.

The daughter of two sane, sedate, dull-as-dishwater parents, pale-skinned, red-haired Poppy Pickle cultivates a magnificent imagination that goes unappreciated. Sent to clean her room, Poppy instead discovers that she now has the ability to bring whatever she imagines to life. From a monocled mammoth and a “philosophical beaver” to an “uptight garden gnome,” Poppy allows her thoughts to go wild. Too wild, as it happens. All methods of dispersing the loony troupe prove ineffective, until Poppy imagines something simple: a door. Her parents, aghast at the wreckage left behind in her room, don’t believe a word of Poppy’s explanation. That is, until that monocled mammoth makes a significant reappearance. Poppy’s desperation to hide her horde is a bit inexplicable, as she’s clearly in more trouble without them than with them. That quibble aside, Yarlett renders Poppy as an irrepressible and irresistible ball of energy. There’s little difficulty believing she’d conjure up a ghost octopus (or “ghostopus”) given half the chance. The art, akin to that of Oliver Jeffers, is filled with tiny details that also add to the fun, and the creatures’ dialogue, spoken in bubbles, will elicit chuckles.

Moral of the story: an excess of imagination may get you into trouble, but it’s clearly worth it. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8911-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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