An art-positive story rich in love, determination, and delightfully big words for brains of all sizes.


From the Sophia series

Sophia’s impressive vocabulary strikes again.

In this third title in the series, 6-year-old Sophia, who has brown skin and wears her hair in three puffballs, has a conundrum: Her art falls short of her expectations, so she crumples it up in frustration after showing it to Noodle, her pet giraffe. Aided by her attentive teacher, Ms. Paradigm, who agrees with Sophia that “Art is hard,” she comes to understand some things about perspective that improve her painting she calls Love. At home, she lobbies for permission to display her art on the family’s new stainless steel CoolKitch (TM) fridge. (Readers will recall she used this skill effectively to get Noodle in One Word From Sophia, 2015.) She must convince Mother, the judge (who is also pregnant); Father, the businessman; Uncle Conrad, the politician; and Grand-mamá, the “head curator.” Ultimately it’s Noodle who helps Grand-mamá, the toughest critic, see the art and their family from a better vantage point. Readers might never have encountered the words “ossicones,” “curator,” or “censorship” before, but they will have a good idea of what each word means after reading this story, especially with the help of the robust glossary. Ismail’s whimsical watercolor-and–colored-pencil illustrations of this interracial family will entertain and delight while they inform. She captures Sophia’s shifting attitudes particularly well as the determined protagonist pleads her case for abstract art.

An art-positive story rich in love, determination, and delightfully big words for brains of all sizes. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7790-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?

Inspiration, shrink wrapped.


From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Did you like this book?