Much lightened by its upbeat resolution, a cautionary but not strident discussion starter about responsible resource...

MR. KING'S CASTLE

From the Mr. King series

In this companion to the similarly eco-themed Mr. King’s Things (2012), a lion-turned–real estate developer recklessly undermines his own foundations.

Fixed on expanding his house into a “BIG castle” since he likes “BIG things,” Mr. King chips block-shaped pieces from the surrounding BIG hill to build battlements and colonnades. By the time he’s finished his project, there’s nothing left of the hill beneath but a few tiny green snippets floating in white space. Rather than letting gravity take over or moving her tale in some other, more realistic direction, Côté opts for, in essence, a do-over. Feeling “very small” at seeing the hill’s other animal residents gathered to protest the loss of grass, flowers and habitat, Mr. King joins in to reassemble the cutout pieces back into seamless slopes. There’s even a leftover block suitable for a smaller building project, so everyone gets to come away satisfied. Done in crayon and thin, streaked tissue collage, the brightly lit illustrations feature flat geometric shapes and smiling (before and after, at least), simply drawn cartoon figures.

Much lightened by its upbeat resolution, a cautionary but not strident discussion starter about responsible resource allocation. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55453-972-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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 good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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