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MRS. NOAH'S POCKETS

With themes relevant to today’s international struggles over exclusion, scarcity, and prejudice, this reinvention is a...

In an adaptation of the popular Bible story, readers meet Mrs. Noah, who has sewn deep pockets into her coat as Mr. Noah prepares the ark.

Many readers will already be familiar with the Abrahamic tale of Noah. In this version, the story shows Noah in a rather more fallible light: Not only is Mr. Noah making a list of animals that shall be spared, but he also sees the crisis as an “ideal time to get rid of those more troublesome creatures.” However, Mrs. Noah has another plan in mind. As Noah goes to work on the “biggest boat the world has ever seen,” Mrs. Noah gets out her sewing machine and begins to stitch a coat with the deepest pockets the world will ever know. As the storm rages, the children believe they see things moving in Mrs. Noah’s deep pockets. Luckily, Mrs. Noah is able to keep it all together until the ark finally returns to land, when she’s able to lift these misunderstood creatures out of her pocket and into freedom on the new land. Depicting characters of various skin tones (Mrs. Noah is brown while Mr. Noah is pale), Mayhew’s flowing, vivid mixed-media illustrations give this book a warm texture all its own.

With themes relevant to today’s international struggles over exclusion, scarcity, and prejudice, this reinvention is a beautiful and necessary parable for our time. (Picture book/religion. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-91095-909-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Otter-Barry

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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