This entertaining, ebulliently illustrated story will make grown-ups pause before nicknaming somebody without their approval.

READ REVIEW

I'M NOT A MOUSE

For all those kids who are tired of the nicknames their families give them.

A young, black, bespectacled child with hair in two big curly puffballs tells readers, “I love my mom”—but not Mom’s nickname for the child: Mouse. Whenever Mom uses that nickname, the kid transforms. Suddenly, this backpack-wearing child becomes a purple mouse, wearing miniature glasses and clothes but lugging a yellow backpack that hasn’t shrunk. The protagonist then recalls all of the instances when Mom has interrupted play and activities by inconveniently changing her offspring into this purple rodent—which sometimes puts the child in treacherous, life-threatening situations, such as when Mom causes a transformation in front of the family’s orange cat. Frustrated, the child finally screams, “I’m not a MOUSE,” and then ignores Mom until she uses the child’s given name: Olivia. The rebellion works, but Olivia soon realizes that plenty of other kids—even grown kids—deal with the same problem. Golubeva’s bold, colorful illustrations effectively capture both Olivia’s conundrum and the child’s frustration with Mom’s annoying habit. A double-page spread in a city park reveals diverse children and nickname-granting caregivers, the kids all amusingly transformed. Frontmatter pages feature Mouse in many different situations, and corresponding backmatter pages add further humor by showing all the other things nicknames have transformed kids into, some non-English languages adding further diversity.

This entertaining, ebulliently illustrated story will make grown-ups pause before nicknaming somebody without their approval. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: June 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78628-464-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to...

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    Best Books Of 2018

  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

DRAWN TOGETHER

The power of art takes center stage in this cleverly titled story of a Thai-speaking grandfather connecting to his assimilated American grandson.

The title page introduces readers to a sullen-faced Asian boy as he walks up to a door and rings the bell. After a traditional bow of greeting, the grandfather, dressed like Mr. Rogers in a white shirt and red sweater, wordlessly welcomes the grandson inside. In paneled artwork, the two unsuccessfully attempt conversation over dinner, with the grandfather speaking in Thai script and the boy speaking in English. Sitting in the uncomfortable silence that cultural divides create, the awkward boy finally walks away to doodle on paper. He draws a wizard with a wand and a conical red hat. Grandpa, recognizing this creative outlet, fetches a sketchbook and, surprisingly, draws his version of a wizard: a tightly detailed warrior clothed in traditional Thai ceremonial dress. The young boy is amazed, marveling that “we see each other for the first time.” The two begin a battle of imagination, wands and paintbrushes thrashing like swords. One draws in energetic colorful cartoons, the other with fierce black-and-white, precisely brushed drawings. Santat elevates their newfound shared passion into energetic, layered, and complex designs, separate and entwined at the same time. They clash with the dragon that divides them and build a new world together “that even words can’t describe.”

Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to connect and the joy of sharing the creative process. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-6760-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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