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

READ REVIEW

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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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