Crabby's and Plankton’s attempts at understanding and friendship provide good examples for beginning readers.

LET'S PLAY, CRABBY!

From the Crabby Book series , Vol. 2

The grumpy crab and cheerful plankton are back for another four chapters of miscommunication following series opener Hello, Crabby! (2019).

Once again, Crabby just wants a day at the beach: “The wind in my face. / The spray in my eyes. / The kelp in my claws. / It is enough to make a crab crabby.” Sociable Plankton tries to get Crabby to play familiar childhood games: guess who, Simon says, hide-and-seek, and tag. In each short chapter, Crabby and Plankton’s repartee, loaded with double meanings, leads to misunderstandings that new readers will easily understand. For example, when Plankton proclaims, “YAY! We can play Simon Says!” Crabby replies, “Who is Simon?” Finally they agree to play Crabby says. Of course, Crabby’s first command is “Crabby says— / stop playing Crabby Says!” Color-coded speech bubbles make following their arguments easy. Appropriately repetitive dialogue-only text, uncluttered backgrounds, and a small trim size help new readers make the transition to longer books. Throughout, Crabby and Plankton remain true to their personas. Crabby is grumpy but polite—not actively mean. The persistent Plankton, though increasingly exasperated, is ultimately patient. Neither abandons civility and courtesy just because they have different interests or styles.

Crabby's and Plankton’s attempts at understanding and friendship provide good examples for beginning readers. (Graphic early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28157-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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Though books on childhood anxiety are numerous, it is worth making space on the shelf for this one.

WAY PAST WORRIED

Brock may be dressed like a superhero, but he sure doesn’t feel like one, as social anxieties threaten to rain on his fun    .

Juan’s superhero-themed birthday party is about to start, but Brock is feeling trepidatious about attending without his brother as his trusty sidekick. His costume does not fit quite right, and he is already running late, and soon Brock is “way past worried.” When he arrives at the party he takes some deep breaths but is still afraid to jump in and so hides behind a tree. Hiding in the same tree is the similarly nervous Nelly, who’s new to the neighborhood. Through the simple act of sharing their anxieties, the children find themselves ready to face their fears. This true-to-life depiction of social anxiety is simply but effectively rendered. While both Nelly and Brock try taking deep breathes to calm their anxieties without success, it is the act of sharing their worries in a safe space with someone who understands that ultimately brings relief. With similar themes, Brock’s tale would make a lovely companion for Tom Percival’s Ruby Finds a Worry (2019) on social-emotional–development bookshelves. Brock is depicted with black hair and tan skin, Nelly presents White, and peers at the party appear fairly diverse.

Though books on childhood anxiety are numerous, it is worth making space on the shelf for this one. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8686-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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