Elements of a legend and a folk tale combine to highlight the good deed of a hardworking Maine fisherman.

THE OLD MAINER AND THE SEA

The tale of an old Mainer, his kind deed, and his just reward.

Eben says goodbye to his wife, Della, on the shore, listening as she voices her concerns: he’s too old to make the 12-mile round trip to the market, and there will be fog later. But Eben sets out regardless, fishing as he rows his dory. But on this particular day, cod is not his only catch: three of his hooks pierce the beak of a harbor porpoise. The animal fights Eben, and the angry fisherman, frustrated because of the cuts to his hands from the line, threatens to sell him for bait. But seeing its eyes, Eben recognizes its fear and kindly sets it free. His good deed is later repaid when the porpoise helps guide his disabled and fog-shrouded boat safely into Portland Harbor. Dieumegard’s illustrations are composed of basic shapes and bright colors: trees are tall, stretched triangles, the water is marvelously swirled, and the fog’s made up of elongated blobs piled on top of one another. Eben and Della are both depicted as white. While this particular tale about Eben York is fictionalized, the real-life fisherman really did regularly row his dory 12 miles to sell his fish in Portland at the market in the late 1800s.

Elements of a legend and a folk tale combine to highlight the good deed of a hardworking Maine fisherman. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-944762-27-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Islandport Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

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. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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