Not what it says on the tin.

LOLA DUTCH

An energetic kid has an energetic day.

A tall, skinny white girl slides gleefully down a bannister, landing atop a tall bear who seems to be her guardian. Bear suggests tea and toast for breakfast, but Lola whips up a feast. At the library, “a little light reading” becomes stacks of books taller than Lola; at the park, Lola and Bear pause—not on a regular bridge but on Claude Monet’s Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies, inspired by Lola’s newly acquired knowledge of art. The pencil, gouache, and watercolor illustrations are whimsical and breezy, with a lovely airiness that helps give the lie to the piece’s premise. Both the opening lines—“This is Lola. Lola Dutch. Lola Dutch is a little bit much”—and Bear’s repetition of “a little bit much” or variations thereof imply a mischievous or melodramatic Lola. But in a picture-book world founded by Max and Eloise, Lola’s not intense or naughty; she’s merely exuberant. She elegantly re-creates Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam on her ceiling, adding herself and her friends to it. With a different illustrative style, a child-improvised Sistine Chapel at home could certainly be too “much,” but here it’s neither chaotic nor messy. Given that, the repeated premise chastises and chafes—and implies a call for quieter girls.

Not what it says on the tin. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-551-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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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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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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