A well-meaning but ultimately flawed offering.

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 Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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