An inviting, relevant, and timely message of tolerance, inclusiveness, unity, and peace. Just imagine.

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IMAGINE

In this illustrated version of the lyrics of Lennon’s 1971 song “Imagine,” a pigeon carries its message far and wide.

Traveling from a crowded subway platform and flying over a river, the pigeon with a mission encourages readers to imagine a world without heaven or hell, without countries, without anything to kill or die for, without religion, possessions, greed, or hunger. Appropriately equipped with an olive branch and orange messenger bag sporting the iconic peace symbol, the pigeon intervenes when two sea gulls fight over a fish and two hummingbirds squabble over a flower. Surrounded by birds of different colors, shapes, and sizes, the pigeon asks them to imagine living in peace and brotherhood. They may think he’s a dreamer, but he’s not alone and suggests they join with him so the “world will be as one.” The visual device of the pacifist carrier pigeon spreading peace gives tangible form to Lennon’s intangible aspirations. Executed in boldly brushed ink lines and digitally colored in an arresting palette of blues, grays, and whites with strong pops of red, orange, chartreuse, and purple, the strikingly simple illustrations reinforce the simple, powerful text.

An inviting, relevant, and timely message of tolerance, inclusiveness, unity, and peace. Just imagine. (foreword by Yoko Ono Lennon, afterword) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-328-80865-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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