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WILLA AND WADE AND THE WAY-UP-THERE

From the Willa and Wade series

A friendship tale that soars.

Grounded personalities are curious about how to soar.

Willa the ostrich and Wade the penguin experiment with different means of achieving flight. Maybe they just need a running start? Or perhaps they need to be light on their feet. Some of their attempts end in a crash, but they always bounce back, undeterred. Sarhangpour depicts the pair with sparkles in their eyes and hearts fluttering around them—it’s evident they’re set on attaining their goal. After a day of attempts, they pause to reflect on what they’ve managed to accomplish: They had fun and helped each other. (Wade, a seasoned swimmer, gave Willa a lesson on how to float, while Willa gave an exhausted Wade a ride as they headed to the top of a cliff.) By the book’s conclusion, whether Willa and Wade will ever truly fly remains unclear, but they’ll definitely keep trying and learning together. Each page of this graphic novel contains one or two panels; anything the flightless friends say or do becomes the centerpiece of that page, sometimes against a blank background. The cartoonish art is simple and clear, and Willa and Wade’s friendship and optimistic spirit come through loudly: The two never assign blame for a failed idea and are always open to each other’s suggestions.

A friendship tale that soars. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9781525308420

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

Totes adorbs.

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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