GOLDIE LOCKS HAS CHICKEN POX

Goldie Locks has contracted chicken pox from an unknown source, although her mom asks Mrs. Bear if Baby Bear shows any signs of the disease. While she’s at it, she also apologizes for the chair her daughter broke. Goldie’s spots start out small in number and size, but are soon larger and more numerous. And of course they itch like mad. Henny Penny, Bo Peep, and Little Red Riding Hood all make appearances to distract Goldie. The doctor gives a clear-cut diagnosis and suggests a cool bath and lots of sweet treats, but he’s a mouse so one might doubt his advice. Little Brother is even more bothersome than the spots and itch. Jealous of all the attention she’s receiving, he tries to connect the dots on Goldie’s face, makes fun of the way she looks, and is generally obnoxious. Of course, his turn comes too. Dealey has chosen to tell the story in verse, but the verse is amateurish, with too many awkward lines, at least one passage that is completely lacking rhythm and stocked with bland rhymes and several non-rhymes, like “dots/pox” and “six/itched.” Straightforward, breezy prose might have served this slight tale better. Wakiyama’s (Too Big, 1998, etc.) illustrations are much more successful. They are rendered brightly, in oil, with red the predominating color. The style might be described as 1950s kitsch. Little Brother looks particularly like the icon for an early fast-food chain. There are cowboy shirts, Formica tables, checkered-tile floors, record players, kidney-shaped coffee tables, and more. Great fun to look at, but the illustrations can’t save the mediocre writing. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-82981-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2002

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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, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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