With repetitive refrains and plenty of mud, it’s hard to go wrong—but the message is a bit murky.

READ REVIEW

KEEP ROLLING!

From the Nuts series , Vol. 3

Litwin’s Nut family is back (The Nuts, 2015), this time lamenting their diminutive size.

Poor Hazel and Wally. They are tired of being tiny. But how can they get bigger quickly? By rolling in the mud, of course! They launch themselves down a mucky hill, and with each revolution a new layer of mud sticks to them, creating a larger and larger shell. A song accompanies the prescribed action: “KEEP ROLLING. / KEEP ROLLING. / KEEP ROLLING.” (It’s easy to imagine listeners getting into the action here.) They roll until they are the size of cats. Magoon’s digital muck glops on thick, with strategically placed twigs and leaves to represent whiskers and eyes. But, “Oh, No!” A pack of dogs comes over the hill. Wally and Hazel had better…“KEEP ROLLING. / KEEP ROLLING. / KEEP ROLLING.” When the two nuts are the size of dogs, they fear the (white) dogcatcher. Then they are the size of elephants, but a (brown-skinned) zookeeper joins the chase. Luckily, in a solution similar to a certain cat with colored shoes, water saves the day. The two nuts roll home.

With repetitive refrains and plenty of mud, it’s hard to go wrong—but the message is a bit murky. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-32251-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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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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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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