WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOU?

Rather than building self-esteem, this book seems to be sending the troubling message that it is constructed through a...

Various anthropomorphic animals share with a child what they love most about themselves.

Instead of a celebration of self, though, the book becomes more of a I-love-this-about-myself-because-it-has-to-do-with-you affair. When whispered into the ear of a bulldog, the titular question is answered, “I love my ears because your whispers tickle.” And a flamingo responds, “I love my legs because I get a kick out of you.” A chipmunk’s cheeks are great for blowing kisses, while a giraffe’s neck can reach the stars. Some of the replies may cause some head-scratching: the whale says its spout is its favorite, “because singing in the rain makes me happy.” The child stands beside the whale (who is evidently standing upright on its flukes) holding an umbrella. And the ending leaves things very unfinished for readers. The narrator looks at the white cat that has appeared throughout in the various scenes and now sits atop a pile of stuffed animals that corresponds to all the animals in the book and says, “What do I love about me? // I love my…self. // And I love you.” Plain, pastel-colored backgrounds keep the focus on the animals and the child, who has straight, dark hair in a neat bob and light brown skin in the spare Photoshopped illustrations.

Rather than building self-esteem, this book seems to be sending the troubling message that it is constructed through a child’s relationships to others. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-093-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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

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 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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