This empathetic tale ends with a question all would do well to contemplate: “Can we do this again tomorrow?” (Picture book....

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HURRY UP, HENRY

Today’s hectic way of life might overwhelm children who need a slower pace.

Like many young children, protagonist Henry, a little black boy, is fascinated by the world around him. He enjoys taking his time on his way to school or anywhere else, but his family operates on a tight daily schedule, one with little time for reverie. In contrast to Henry, his best friend, Simon, a little Asian boy, has the opposite problem: he does everything too quickly. When they play, “they get a lot done”—but then Henry has to recover by lying still in the dark. Luckily, Grandma understands Henry and shows him a way to manage time efficiently. And when Henry’s birthday approaches, Simon decides on the best present ever, but only if Grandma will help him pull it off. Simon’s gift gives the family exactly what they did not know they needed. Author Lanthier’s quiet text sets a patient tone for this familiar situation that frustrates many young families. Malenfant’s subtle color scheme and watercolor/pastel mixed media complement the text, varying vignettes and quiet double-page spreads to visually evoke the different paces of Henry’s world. The repetition of clock motifs, fanciful flora and fauna, and changes in scale add a touch of magical realism that furthers the book’s emotional themes.

This empathetic tale ends with a question all would do well to contemplate: “Can we do this again tomorrow?” (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-06837-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Puffin/Penguin Random House Canada

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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 fascinating, splendidly executed peek into both the mundane and the dramatic aspects of lighthouse life.

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HELLO LIGHTHOUSE

This tribute to lighthouses of an earlier era focuses on one lighthouse and its dedicated keeper.

Perched “on the highest rock of a tiny island / at the edge of the world,” the lighthouse shines for seafaring ships. A new keeper arrives, continuing the endless routine of polishing the lens, refilling the oil, trimming the wick, winding the clockwork, painting the round rooms, fishing, making tea, sending letters to his wife (in bottles), and writing daily in his logbook. One day, a ship delivering supplies brings the keeper’s wife! The keeper rings a warning bell in fog, rescues wrecked sailors, and logs his baby’s birth. When he’s ill, his stalwart wife tends the light and maintains the logbook. Eventually, a mechanical light replaces the keeper. While the spare, unemotional text resembles a keeper’s log, the book’s vertical orientation echoes a lighthouse tower. Rendered in Chinese ink and watercolor, precise, detailed illustrations present the lighthouse surrounded by patterned blue, green, or gray waves depending on the weather or season, reinforcing its solitary enterprise. A cutaway interior view exposes a compact, contained world. Close-ups of the keeper and his wife (both white) in porthole-shaped frames and from unusual aerial views emphasize their isolated, intimate, circular environment. An “About Lighthouses” section adds insightful detail.

A fascinating, splendidly executed peek into both the mundane and the dramatic aspects of lighthouse life. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-36238-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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