Though a bit rough around the edges, this very personal story should engage animal-loving readers.

HONEY GIRL

THE HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL

Honey Girl is well-known in her habitat of the waters off northern Oahu.

Called monk seals because their loose neck skin resembles a monk’s cowl, most of these animals live near the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, but some regularly live near the main Hawaiian Islands and they are designated the state mammal. Although her species is endangered (for many reasons listed in the fact-filled backmatter), Honey Girl has managed to live and bear many pups, so many that she is locally known as “Super Mom.” This book examines one period in her life when veterinarians operate on her after she is injured by a large fishhook that’s punctured her cheek and fishing line that’s been wrapped around her tongue. When she is finally released, scientists track her whereabouts, and a fascinating map is created and shown in the book. She continues to thrive and have other pups, even becoming a grandmother several years after the miracle operation that saves half her tongue. The text is sometimes awkward, concentrating on getting the story down more than on craft. The natural backgrounds, especially the intense blue waters, in the bright illustrations are striking, but the animals and people are not as accomplished.

Though a bit rough around the edges, this very personal story should engage animal-loving readers. (additional information, activities) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62855-9217

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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