Those with limited budgets should opt for more-creative, less-contrived books that address this premise.

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NOT ’TIL TOMORROW, PHOEBE

From the Phoebe series , Vol. 2

Patience is not Phoebe’s strong suit.

Waiting until tomorrow for pancakes, ice cream, and a school party makes her grumpy. “Grown-ups always said tomorrow when they didn’t want to do something now.” This common frustration is the premise of this well-meaning but essentially bland picture book. Simple ink-outlined illustrations colored in Adobe Illustrator in muted shades of blue, orange, purple, and brown are designed in a retro style but feel incomplete. They do little to add interest or depth to the story. Phoebe has brown skin and puffy, brown hair, and her classmates are shown as a diverse mix. A brown-skinned, curly-haired child plays a drum, a red-haired, pale-skinned girl with glasses is assigned a maraca, and a light-skinned blonde girl plays a xylophone in her wheelchair. (Curiously, she does not have a mallet.) One of the teachers is pale; the other is light brown. After being told to wait until tomorrow all day long and falling into a snit, Phoebe melts down at her brown-skinned Grammy’s. Of course, Grammy offers, and Phoebe quickly accepts, the inevitable and simplistic resolution to the problem: a “secret ingredient to make [tomorrows] into todays” that is anticlimactically revealed to be a good night’s sleep. No doubt, Phoebe will find fans, as Zwillich is the creator of TV and internet video content in both Canada and the U.S.

Those with limited budgets should opt for more-creative, less-contrived books that address this premise. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77147-172-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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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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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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