A beautifully illustrated tale of self-acceptance.

A TIGER WITHOUT STRIPES

In this modern fable, a young tiger leaves her family to find a way to earn the stripes she was not given at birth.

On her own, the tiger braves the blazing sun, the dark forest, and a rainstorm in search of her stripes, but each time when what she believes are stripes appear—shadows, scrapes, streaks of mud—they soon disappear. Finally, she climbs as high as she can and screams into the sky, demanding an answer as to why she was not given stripes like every other tiger and what she must do to earn them. In response, a voice tells the tiger that it gives all tigers stripes as a gift and that they do not have to earn them. Perplexed, she slips off alone and ponders what, if anything, is her gift. The next morning, the tiger ascends back to the high place and says, “Thank you,” to the sky for the gift that she realizes she was given: her striving. Through warm washes of orange and yellow, trees, bushes, and leaves take on the appearance of tiger stripes, a treat for observant readers. The disembodied voice in the sky is never named or explained, leaving readers to ponder it along with the tiger’s understanding of her unique gift—a lesson readers may not need to struggle as hard as the tiger to achieve but is still gently oblique.

A beautifully illustrated tale of self-acceptance. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-943147-71-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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 lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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