A relevant tale of love and acceptance that can find a home in any children’s collection.

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FROM THE STARS IN THE SKY TO THE FISH IN THE SEA

A fantasy-inspired story of gender and identity told by trans writer Thom.

Miu Lan can’t decide if they are a “bird or fish,” “cat or rabbit,” “tree or star.” They were born “when both the moon and the sun were in the sky,” so their identity shifts with the games they play and the time of day. In charming, fancifully childlike illustrations pitched to a young audience, readers see the Chinese child swim, fly, prance, and run in different animal guises. Their mother constantly assures them of her love in a song repeated throughout. Of course, when Miu Lan goes to school in “a tail of peacock feathers and a coat of tiger stripes,” their classmates are not so accepting. Exclusion and mild bullying commence as Miu Lan tries to figure out how to fit in, but their mother continues to reassure them, and of course the story ends with full acceptance: “i was a little jealous,” one boy even admits. (The unconventional use of lowercase letters reinforces the sense of Miu Lan’s fluid identity.) The story is somewhat long-winded and predictable, but the traditional arc and themes can resonate with any child who feels excluded (or excludes others) and can also open up conversations about nonbinary gender identities.

A relevant tale of love and acceptance that can find a home in any children’s collection. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55152-709-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 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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