Replete with wry, comic references and infused with a sense of adventure, this is a lighthearted tale that readers will...

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A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK

Being small doesn’t mean you can’t have big goals!

A pebble who feels like a boulder sets out to prove that little ones can accomplish great things in this quirky, suspenseful, pun-filled tale. Young Rocky has rock-star relatives, such as Aunt Etna and Uncle Gibraltar, and even though he’s told that he is too small, he feels inspired to “become part of one of the amazing formations on Earth!” Rocky landscapes and stony surfaces are depicted with just the right amount of detail as Rocky crosses the country and visits family members from Wyoming to Texas. He arrives in South Dakota, having lost some mass along the way, only to realize that the spectacular Mount Rushmore is in trouble—there is a crack in Lincoln’s nose and visitors are not allowed in the park until the problem is solved. Is there anything a young sedimentary rock can do? Young readers will root for this less-than-pint–sized hero while he makes the most of his own personal talents. Though they may miss some of the rock-related allusions, they will learn a bit about rock types and formations (factual information is included in the final notes).

Replete with wry, comic references and infused with a sense of adventure, this is a lighthearted tale that readers will certainly not “take for granite.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-17388-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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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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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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