A delightful, engaging book for a broad audience, an effective form of stress reduction, and a catalyst for readers’ own...

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KUMA-KUMA CHAN'S TRAVELS

From the Kuma-Kuma Chan, the Little Bear series

Kuma-Kuma Chan continues in his life of peaceful solitude, even when he travels.

Fans of Takahashi’s little bear may be surprised when they think of this meditative character on the go, but in keeping with his usual contemplativeness, his travels are in his mind. He thinks about, dreams about, and writes about great adventures—even ones in which he’s a tiger or he goes back in time—without leaving the comfort of his little house in the mountains. The narrator (depicted from behind as an adult man) confides in readers that Kuma-Kuma Chan sends him travel notes but he can’t read them because the bear writes fast and messily, so he has to imagine how his travels are going. But he tells readers about Kuma-Kuma Chan’s travels in a satisfyingly repetitive rhythm of big, exciting adventures that he then humorously reframes in a much smaller and calmer setting. The illustrations are wonderful simplified shapes and are done in sweet pastels that visually reinforce the quiet world of this charming little bear. Though it’s the third book in the series, it stands alone, but it’s a great reason to check out the other two.

A delightful, engaging book for a broad audience, an effective form of stress reduction, and a catalyst for readers’ own imaginary travels—all in an irresistibly wee package. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-940842-18-9

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Museyon

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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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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