THE TORTOISE & THE HARE

With luminous mixed media pictures, a short, carefully meted-out text and a Southwestern U.S. setting, Pinkney (The Lion and the Mouse, 2009) takes on another of Aesop’s fables—marvelously.

A persevering tortoise and a speedy but arrogant hare tackle a challenging race course that includes rocky elevations and a water crossing. When a farmstead’s cabbages tempt the hare, he tunnels under a fence to gorge and nap. Meanwhile the tortoise, closely observed by desert denizens, passes the slumbering hare and wins by a length. In the tortoise’s scenes, the fable’s moral inches along, like him: The first proclaims “SLOW”; the second, “SLOW AND”—and so on, with the victory spread featuring the entire moral.  The ingenious layout mixes bordered panels, spot illustrations and full-bleed single- and double-page spreads, arranged to convey each racer’s alternating progress through a golden landscape. Bejeweled with blooming cactuses and buzzing with bees, reptiles, mammals and more, the desert tableaux will engross readers. The critters’ bits of clothing—hat, bandanna, vest—add pops of color and visually evoke the jaunty characters of Br’er Rabbit stories. Hare’s black-and-white checked neckerchief does duty as the signal flag and Tortoise’s victory cape. Lush, encompassing endpapers feature, in the front, a layout of the racecourse and, in the rear, the reveling animals, with the hare, still stunned, gazing out at readers. A captivating winner—start to finish! (artist’s note, design notes) (Picture book/folk tale. 3-6)

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-18356-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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