This will provide both reassurance to children missing their own loved ones and ideas for staying connected.



A package in the mail helps a baby penguin know that his mother loves him even though miles separate them.

Kipling’s Mama has to go on a trip (where and why are never explained), and he misses her, especially at dinner and at bedtime. The next morning, he tries some clever surrogates, “But Pillow Mama wouldn’t read, / Picture Mama wouldn’t laugh… // …and Snow Mama was too cold to cuddle.” (Pillow Mama is a square cushion with glasses that look like Mama’s perched on top.) And though Kipling wishes for Mama on each of his wishing rocks, all he gets is a soggy box—but it’s from Mama! It contains treasures for Kipling as well as a paper heart expressing Mama’s love and a picture of her hugging that heart. Kipling immediately sets out to make Mama her own care package, and before he knows it, she’s back, his package tucked under her wing. Roly-poly Kipling belongs to a family of chinstrap penguins. All the animals are anthropomorphized, from the penguins’ house and Kipling’s red boots to all the species—Arctic terns, pelicans, whales, and seals—that are involved in delivering the packages (some even punch a time clock!). The artwork works with the spare text to keep the focus on how Kipling is feeling; readers are sure to empathize.

This will provide both reassurance to children missing their own loved ones and ideas for staying connected. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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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. 29, 2018

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


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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