Korngold and Fortenberry move beyond sentimentality to real sentiment.

READ REVIEW

SADIE AND ORI AND THE BLUE BLANKET

From the Sadie and Ori series

It would be easy to call this picture book two stories in one, but that would be glib and irresponsibly reductive.

This picture book is a guide to the Jewish holidays (complete with directions for making raisin challah on Rosh Hashanah), and it’s a story about a grandmother who knits the titular blue blanket for her grandchildren. But this is really just one book. It’s a story about the passage of time. After a number of holidays have gone by, Ori asks, “Why can’t you play with us like you used to?” Grandma says: “That is part of growing older. I can still sit down on the floor, but I can’t get back up.” Grandma is laughing, but some readers will find the story unbearably sad. Soon, she can’t remember places or names. Some people may also consider the book sentimental. When Grandma cuddles under her blue blanket with the children, she calls it their “Together Blanket,” and the words appear in bold, blue letters whenever mentioned in the text. The story also moves quite slowly, dwelling on the details of each holiday, which is apt in a book about time but often frustrating. Still, it’s hard not to be charmed by Fortenberry’s simple, symmetrical paintings, and it’s hard not to be moved when Sadie and Ori read Grandma the stories she once told them.

Korngold and Fortenberry move beyond sentimentality to real sentiment. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-14677-1191-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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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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Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to...

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DRAWN TOGETHER

The power of art takes center stage in this cleverly titled story of a Thai-speaking grandfather connecting to his assimilated American grandson.

The title page introduces readers to a sullen-faced Asian boy as he walks up to a door and rings the bell. After a traditional bow of greeting, the grandfather, dressed like Mr. Rogers in a white shirt and red sweater, wordlessly welcomes the grandson inside. In paneled artwork, the two unsuccessfully attempt conversation over dinner, with the grandfather speaking in Thai script and the boy speaking in English. Sitting in the uncomfortable silence that cultural divides create, the awkward boy finally walks away to doodle on paper. He draws a wizard with a wand and a conical red hat. Grandpa, recognizing this creative outlet, fetches a sketchbook and, surprisingly, draws his version of a wizard: a tightly detailed warrior clothed in traditional Thai ceremonial dress. The young boy is amazed, marveling that “we see each other for the first time.” The two begin a battle of imagination, wands and paintbrushes thrashing like swords. One draws in energetic colorful cartoons, the other with fierce black-and-white, precisely brushed drawings. Santat elevates their newfound shared passion into energetic, layered, and complex designs, separate and entwined at the same time. They clash with the dragon that divides them and build a new world together “that even words can’t describe.”

Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to connect and the joy of sharing the creative process. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-6760-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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