In the end, family love wins out.



Siblings often disagree, even bunny brothers and sisters.

When Brayden’s friend Lena visits, he becomes upset because Lena plays with his two sisters first. He scoffs at their stereotypical girl games, but when they play gender-neutral hide-and-seek, he still won’t join. He had wanted to show Lena his “secret hiding place today—the one with the carrots.” Brayden’s jealousy prevents him from having fun until badger Benny comes to play with trains. Inexplicably and problematically, Benny wears a cowboy hat, and Brayden sports a feathered headdress as they play. When Benny mentions that a storm is brewing, suddenly Brayden thinks about the girls. He tells his friend that he must find them because they are “scared stiff of thunder.” Benny can’t understand the bunny’s anxiety, but Brayden resolutely states: “Brothers and sisters have to look out for one another.” The girls are not so happy to be the object of Brayden’s concern, however, and reveal that he is also afraid of thunderstorms. Back in their cozy living room, Brayden hands out carrots from his secret cache, and Mommy comes home to find her children happy with each other once again. While the story takes a great many words (set in fairly small print) to tell and is a little saccharine, the accomplished watercolor illustrations are quite engaging, full of detailed European woodland flora and fauna.

In the end, family love wins out. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4279-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.


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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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.


After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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