A sweet story of self-actualization about a kind being who defies cat-egorization.

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KEITH AMONG THE PIGEONS

A quirky critter finds birds of a feather.

Keith is a vibrant orange cat who likes all the things other cats like: napping, bathing, and bird-watching…in his own way. Rejected by his kin, he decides to pursue his preference for the company of pigeons and spends his time on a bench on the park writing lists of their good qualities (“Pigeons have a great time…THEY CAN FLY”) and composing “Hi-coos:” “Flapping wings so free, / It’s the pigeon way to be / Would they accept me?” Struggling to make an introduction, Keith sets out to be “a bit more pigeon” and ends up painting himself pigeon blue after a charming montage featuring a fabulous feather boa. This plan works with flying colors until it starts to rain. Keith then tries to be a “proper cat” to no avail, and he eventually, predictably, learns that perhaps being himself was the best option all along—not a cat, not a pigeon...Keith. Brosnan’s luminous illustrations are lively and endearing, with a printlike look, keeping the story well-paced by alternating between spot illustrations and spreads. A fresh take on a well-worn subject, this British import deserves a soft spot in the heart of anyone feeling out of place, be it for their identity or due to a particular fondness for rock doves.

A sweet story of self-actualization about a kind being who defies cat-egorization. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78628-344-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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