LOVE BIRDS

Feathers and friendship make for a good pairing in this gentle ode to appreciating both.

When birds are easier to speak to than people, what do you do when you meet another bird lover?

It’s been a month, and Jon still hasn’t spoken to another kid his age since he moved to town. Still, while he may not talk much, he’s an excellent listener. He listens particularly to birds of all sorts, in the fields and the skies. One evening he hears a barred owl and imitates its song. Yet when he follows its response, he instead finds a girl and fellow bird lover named Janet. Together they talk and listen together, “for days and weeks, / and into the years.” While Yolen’s author’s note states that this book is a partner to her Caldecott Award winner Owl Moon (1987), illustrated by John Schoenherr, it might be more accurate to say it exists in the same universe. The story sets up a nice series of contrasts (Jon’s mother’s chattiness versus her son’s silence versus the give and take of Jon and Janet’s conversations). Meanwhile Wilson weaves images of birds into an array of panels. Delicious details also hide in the cracks of these pictures, like the images on a page opposite the author’s note depicting photographs of Jon and Janet growing older, marrying, and having children to bird with. Jon and his mother are light-skinned, and Janet presents Black. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Feathers and friendship make for a good pairing in this gentle ode to appreciating both. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-951836-40-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron Kids

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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