HOUNDSLEY AND CATINA

PLINK AND PLUNK

Houndsley loves to take his canoe out onto the lake, but Bert the goose, his usual paddling partner, must visit a sick aunt. He’s reluctant to invite his best friend, Catina, because the talkative cat does “not seem to understand that for Houndsley the joys of canoeing were the boat’s silent glide over the water, the plink and plunk of the paddles...” Sure enough, she yaks and yaks. A few days later, Houndsley is gifted with a bicycle, which he most assuredly does not want: He can’t ride. But he gamely goes out with Catina and Bert and promptly upends himself into an azalea bush. His confession that he can’t ride a bike results in a swap with Bert for a tricycle and Catina’s admission that she’s terrified of the water—that’s why she talks all the time—and a happy canoe outing with both friends, after a swimming lesson for Catina. Howe’s gentle text deftly mixes in some sight words alongside easily sounded-out vocabulary, all while telling a sweetly engaging story; Gay’s energetic watercolors brim with personality and humor. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3385-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more