Comical and heartwarming, this title should spark discussions of relationships and understanding

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GRANDPA GRUMPS

Love can be expressed in many different ways.

Young, bubbly Daisy eagerly awaits the arrival of her paternal grandfather from China. She’s already made a list of activities to make sure “This will be the best week ever!” When Yeh-Yeh finally arrives, Daisy notices that “Grandpa isn’t jolly”—even after she gives him a hug. “Would you like some tea?” Daisy offers. Although she arranges a full tea party complete with stuffed animals, Yeh-Yeh reacts only with a stern “Harrumph.” Undeterred, Daisy brings him one of her books to read. Yeh-Yeh attempts to communicate with Daisy, suggesting in Mandarin that she read his Chinese newspaper; misunderstanding, she takes it as a request for an art session. Yan’s cartoons have the look of modern animation; rendered in bright blended colors, they are sure to elicit giggles with their portrayals of Daisy’s failed attempts to engage her grandfather. A discouraged Daisy asks, “Mama, why is Yeh-Yeh such a grump?” Mama answers, “He shows love in other ways.” Shifting paradigms, Daisy and Yeh-Yeh finally make headway through a shared love of food (recipe appended). Daisy and her family are Chinese, and a handful of romanized Chinese appears within the well-structured text, with many Chinese characters in the illustrations. Both characters and romanized Chinese appear with their English translations on the endpapers in a decorative picture dictionary.

Comical and heartwarming, this title should spark discussions of relationships and understanding (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0886-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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