Merino’s airy style reflects the light message of the book: celebrate yourself and enjoy your imperfections.



One vain sheep with a gorgeous head of hair plus an egg that needs a place to hatch equals a dandy tale of self-acceptance.

Lola spends endless hours attending to her wool so it is never tangled. She struts her ovine stuff through the farmyard, where she enjoys the adoration of the other sheep. Imagine her shock when she is shorn in the spring! She is embarrassed without her wool and disappointed when it grows back wild, messy, and tangled! She is devastated. Her preoccupation keeps Lola from noticing when a small egg falls from a tree onto her new, matted tresses. When the egg hatches into a sweet chick, Lola gains a friend—one who loves Lola’s ample, messy wool. Droll illustrations, in translucent greens and blues with relaxed lines barely holding in the color, are sure to bring a chuckle to young lap listeners. They will enjoy noticing that some of the earlier spreads are repeated later in the book, but with subtle changes. One repeated scene of Lola’s living room shows the same dresser with a vase of red flowers, but this time the painting on the wall is not of Lola with a medal around her perfect neck but with her crazy hair lovingly holding her new friend.

Merino’s airy style reflects the light message of the book: celebrate yourself and enjoy your imperfections. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7338-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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 pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)


A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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