A sweet tale of how the power of play helps an elder adjust to a new life.

SKYFISHING

A GRAND TALE WITH GRANDPA

A grandfather moves in with his children in a city apartment and, with the help of his granddaughter, finds a new way to continue his passion.

Through fall and winter, building models or playing chess cannot really engage Grandpa, an avid angler at heart. Spring arrives, and his granddaughter, the narrator, initiates a pretend fishing game perched from their fire escape above the busy city street. They wait for a catch with poles, lines, and hooks. At first nothing happens, but their patience prevails as they reel in a piece of plastic they imagine to be a “flying litterfish.” The possibilities for skyfishing take off from there as the clutter of an urban sea produces flower pots, wind “chimefish,” and socks on a line—or “laundry eels.” But the biggest fish of all in their imagination rumbles deep below on the tracks. The steady narrative blends with whimsical paintings that transform the everyday congestion of a crowded metropolis into fantastical sea creatures. An ocean of aqua and blues across the bottom of the page parallels the dull browns and grays of high-rises and apartment buildings across the top. Fishing aficionados will enjoy the endpapers with accurate pen-and-ink drawings of real fish as well as childlike figures of the “fish” in the story. Grandpa and the narrator are white, and the city’s denizens are vibrantly diverse.

A sweet tale of how the power of play helps an elder adjust to a new life. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1911-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

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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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.

LITTLE JOE CHICKAPIG

Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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