A visually striking account of godwit migration—pair it with Sandra Markle's similar but more concrete The Long, Long...

CIRCLE

Baker (Mirror, 2010, etc.) turns her eye to a story that parallels the migration of the godwit with a white, wheelchair-using child who wishes for flight.

As the child bird-watches from the shore of a nature reserve, the text narrates the growth and eventual nine-day migration of a godwit and his flock. The author's soothing prose conveys the spirit rather than the specifics of this marathon migration; the copyright page refers readers to three websites for more information, but the points of the birds' route—Alaska and New Zealand—are not mentioned in the text, though they are implied in the illustrations. As the godwits “follow an ancient, invisible pathway," bold, textured collage illustrations give a sweeping bird’s-eye view of the world below, from sprawling cities to the slightest footprint in the sand. "The places they remember are gone," but eventually they circle back to the nature reserve, "where mud and sand become sea," where the same child is now chasing a Dalmatian, and underarm crutches lie nearby. In the final illustration, the child, spread-eagled on a bed, imagines soaring with a flock of godwits. The child's condition is unexplained, leaving the child's "flight" open to interpretation. Is it about gaining the ability to walk, or is it about a journey like the godwit's—experiencing transformation over time?

A visually striking account of godwit migration—pair it with Sandra Markle's similar but more concrete The Long, Long Journey (2013), illustrated by Mia Posada. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7966-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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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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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