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HILLARY TO THE RESCUE

“Be prepared” is the message in this sweet but nearly catatonic tale. Hillary, a kitten, has a date to attend a play in a neighboring city with her drama club. It is cold and snowing, so Hillary bundles up with layers of clothes and scarves and “Super-Duper Below-Zero Snow Walkers.” But once in the van, she begins to melt down, and she gets a gentle chiding from her pals about overdressing and not having dress-up clothes like they have. The snowstorm turns into a blizzard, the van skids off the road, and Hillary puts all her clothes back on to walk to a house they can see across the street. The lady of the house invites them in to spend the night as the roads are closing. So the drama club puts on a play about a snow rescue to entertain themselves and their host. The next day, spare clothes are brought out and the kids bundle into them and head home. “ ‘Next time I’ll bring my own winter gear,’ said Marcie on the way home.” The artwork is as mild as this strangely domesticated story about an event that should have been at least a little scary. The car skidding off the road, the storm, and the trudge through the snow—it is as though these excitements are packed in lint. And what about Ginny’s dad, the driver? Talk about a feckless boob: a story could be built on his irresponsibility alone. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-57505-420-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2000

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WILLOW THE WHITE HOUSE CAT

Kids will enjoy the opportunity to “mews” on the doings of a presidential pet.

First Lady Biden and Capucilli, author of the Biscuit series, explain how Willow the cat came to reside at the White House.

Willow lives contentedly in a barn. One day, she’s curious when cars approach and people gather to hear a blond woman speak. Willow draws closer, then is delighted as the woman lifts her up and hugs her. That evening, light-skinned Farmer Rick tells Willow she made “quite an impression”: The visitor has invited Willow to live with her. A car arrives to drive Willow away to the White House, her new home in Washington, D.C. There, she’s welcomed by the first lady—the same woman who tenderly held her at the farm. Willow meets the president and explores her new home, filled with elegantly furnished rooms, grand staircases, and historic portraits. Plus, there’s a toy-filled basket! Best of all, there are wonderful people who work in and visit this beautiful house who show Willow kindness and affection. Willow’s favorite resting spot is at the president’s side in the Oval Office, though she also enjoys watching the first lady read to children on the lawn. Animal lovers will especially appreciate this sweet, cat’s-eye view of the White House, which helps humanize the first family by depicting them as ordinary feline fanciers. The loose ink, acrylic, and paint illustrations are cheerful and cozy. Background characters are racially diverse.

Kids will enjoy the opportunity to “mews” on the doings of a presidential pet. (author’s note from Biden, photos) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 4, 2024

ISBN: 9781665952057

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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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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