A well-meaning but ultimately flawed offering.

READ REVIEW

BABY BEAR'S ADOPTION

A fictionalized account of a wildlife rescue program in Michigan that places orphaned cubs with mother bears.

This real-life program is presented fictionally, through the point of view of a presumably adopted child. A boy named Braden narrates as he and his sister, Finley, accompany their father in his work as a wildlife biologist with this program. First they collar a mother bear so they can track and find her if and when they find an orphaned cub. Braden and Finley hold her cubs while their father and other adults collar her. When an orphaned cub is located later, they accompany their father again to track the sow and trick her into accepting the baby as her own. While this process is fascinating, the fact that the children are illustrated to appear Asian (Finley) and black (Braden) while their dad appears white could raise uneasy feelings among adoptees who read this family as a transracial adoptive family. Are readers to understand this text as creating a parallel between human adoption and the cub adoption program? If so, duping the mother bear into taking in the cub makes for a troubling association with human adoption, and the fact that most human adoptees are not orphaned by their biological parents undermines the parallel. Backmatter includes information on black bears’ life cycle, hibernation, a Q-and-A with a bear biologist, and further facts about bears. A Spanish-language edition publishes simultaneously in paperback.

A well-meaning but ultimately flawed offering. (bibliography) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60718-726-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Arbordale

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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