A chilly tale to warm the heart.



A lost wolf pup is taken in by a polar bear in Banks and Stoop's sweet arctic tale.

As winter descends on the Arctic tundra, a young wolf pup becomes separated from his pack, isolated on an ice floe. He swims to shore, tired and cold, and finds himself face to face with a large polar bear. Frightened, the pup is perplexed when the bear nuzzles him rather than attacking: “Aren’t you going to eat me?” After all, “Polar bears eat wolves.” “Not this one” is the polar bear’s reply, and she explains that though she is not his mother, she can keep him safe and warm. The two stay together through the Big Freeze and the Big Melt, the bear teaching the pup how to fish, playing with him, and, when the time comes, gently sending him out into the world on his own. The pup, now a fully grown arctic wolf, acquires a pack of his own, leading it over the tundra until, one day, he comes upon a small polar bear cub alone in the snow and pays forward the care he was shown as a pup. This quiet tale of kindness, adoption, and reciprocity uses sparse text to great effect among the crisp, wind-swept, snow-laden illustrations that practically crunch as the pages turn, cycling through the “wheel of life.”

A chilly tale to warm the heart. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55409-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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. 29, 2018

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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...


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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