A clever conceit ably rendered; this is bound to prove popular with loving grandparents and caustic kids alike.

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I WANNA GO HOME

A child’s skepticism takes a header when a vacation with Grandma and Grandpa proves more wild than mild.

After getting his iguana (I Wanna Iguana, 2004) and failing to successfully petition for his own space (I Wanna New Room, 2010), Alex returns for a third time, and now the situation’s truly dire. His parents are taking off for Bora Bora, which means he and his siblings are slated to stay with their grandparents for the duration. Broccoli lasagna and the absence of both video games and computers are bound to lead to a terrible time. In his initial, desperate letters and emails written to his vacationing parents, Alex pleads with them to return ASAP. Yet soon, Alex is singing a different tune, as he discovers square dancing, bingo, stickball and other wonderful aspects of old-folk living. Turns out that two weeks just isn’t enough time. The epistolary picture book is hardly a new genre, but it can prove a difficult one. Orloff handles the format as well as the subject with grace and aplomb. Alex’s gradual acceptance of his doting ancestors plays out believably, pairing beautifully with Catrow’s controlled craziness. The pencils, watercolors and inks find the funny in almost every single spread.

A clever conceit ably rendered; this is bound to prove popular with loving grandparents and caustic kids alike. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25407-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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