A girl experiments with careers and loves them all.

In prior book Lola Dutch (2018), the narrative voice classified Lola’s exuberant personality as “too much”; this time it’s her career aspirations. Fortunately, after opening with the same chiding tone (“This is Lola. Lola Dutch. Lola Dutch wants to be too much”), the narration drops the judgment, and Lola goes to town, sampling careers to her heart’s content. She’s an opera singer! Inventor! Botanist! Each requires copious assistance—for example, “Gator built the set. Pig composed the orchestrations. Crane designed the costumes”—depicted in vignettes, after which readers see a full-bleed double-page spread of accomplishment: Lola onstage belting opera or Lola perching in an I’m-the-king-of-the-world pose in the nose of her old-fashioned, mildly steampunk flying ship. Other careers fly by more quickly in spot illustrations: astronaut, pastry chef, veterinarian, chemist. Visual references to Vermeer and Leonardo will tickle adults. Ever present is Lola’s steady guardian, Bear, who’s ungendered, wears a yellow bow tie, and seems to lack feet (to no mobility detriment). The pencil, gouache, and watercolor illustrations are airy and cheerful. Lola, a tall, skinny white girl, is supposedly facing a quandary here—what to be when she grows up—but her career explorations and boundless energy are exciting, not stressful.

Breezily enthusiastic. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68119-554-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 45

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?