Though a dog on the loose on a ferryboat is truly a fairy tale, Walter’s story is a tale well-told.

FERRY TAIL

An energetic, joyful dog finds his true home and family onboard a large ferryboat that conveys cars and people to an island community.

Walter is a large, reddish dog with a white nose and tail, possibly part Irish setter. He freely roams the ferryboat on its daily trip, bringing the newspaper to the gray-bearded captain, listening to the sound of the engine with the ship’s female engineer and tasting the bacon for the male cook. Walter gets along with everyone except the captain’s spoiled cat, Cupcake, who tries to take over Walter’s duties aboard ship. When Walter leaves the ship and tries life on the island, he finds he isn’t welcomed there by anyone, and life on land is strange and unsatisfying for a canine used to life onboard. Cupcake the cat shows up to retrieve the lost dog, and they return to the ferryboat together as friends in a satisfying conclusion. Although the plot is predictable, the text conveys genuine emotion in Walter’s classic search for his true home. A large trim size and appealing illustrations in a variety of formats bring Walter’s antics and the island community to life.

Though a dog on the loose on a ferryboat is truly a fairy tale, Walter’s story is a tale well-told. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58536-829-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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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