Indeed, moths do deserve to be recognized, and this a good springboard.

READ REVIEW

NOT A BUTTERFLY

ALPHABET BOOK

“It’s about time moths had their own book!”

Pallotta extends his many topical alphabet books (most recently The Crab Alphabet Book, illustrated by Tom Leonard, 2019) with this seeming rebuttal to the glut of butterfly books. Collaborator Bersani’s Prismacolor pencil and Photoshop illustrations are hands-down the stars here. Up-close pictures in brilliant, naturalistic colors and patterns dazzle the eye and will surely send readers out the door to hunt for some moth species. (The absence of a map and info about individual species’ ranges may hamper them, though.) Pallotta rounds out the single large-font sentence identifying the letter of the alphabet and the species (“G is for Green Lips Moth”) with a paragraph of information. These vary widely in both amount of information and relevance, many of them addressing moths in general rather than a specific moth. C (cow moth), for instance, talks about how most moths land (wings spread, as opposed to butterflies, which usually land with their wings folded), and D (diamond moth) makes a snarky comparison to a Delta Dart fighter jet. Though several pages talk about ways moths camouflage themselves, it’s not until the letter I that the term is used: “This yellow moth is camouflaged when sitting on a yellow flower.” Other entries teach readers about wing scales, anatomy, moths’ attraction to light, their life cycle, a bit about what they eat and what eats them, and a few other differences between moths and butterflies.

Indeed, moths do deserve to be recognized, and this a good springboard. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-689-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Lit with sweetness.

SHARE SOME KINDNESS, BRING SOME LIGHT

Coco, who loves her gentle friend Bear, is shocked to learn that the other forest animals do not know about his kindness.

Inspired by one of her grandmother’s favorite maxims, Coco, a girl with light brown skin and curly brown hair, works with Bear to “share some kindness [and] bring some light” to the other animals in the forest. Interpreting it literally, the two make cookies (kindness) and lanterns (light) to share with the other animals. They trek through the snow-covered forest to deliver their gifts, but no one trusts Bear enough to accept them. As night begins to fall, Bear and Coco head home with the lanterns and cookies. On the way through the quiet forest, they hear a small voice pleading for help; it’s Baby Deer, stuck in the snow. They help free him, and Bear gives the young one a ride home on his back. When the other animals see both that Baby Deer is safe and that Bear is responsible for this, they begin to recognize all the wonderful things about Bear that they had not noticed before. The episode is weak on backstory—how did Coco and Bear become friends? Why don’t the animals know Bear better by now?—but Stott’s delicately inked and colored illustrations offer beguiling views of lightly anthropomorphized woodland critters that make it easy to move past these stumbling blocks. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

Lit with sweetness. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6238-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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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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