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HOT HOT PANCAKES!

A delectable dish with morsels of empathy, fair dealing, and even math in the list of ingredients.

Max the mouse makes pancakes for his four younger sibs but runs out of ingredients before he can make one for himself. What to do?

Clever use of partial pages turns a potential downer into a sweet opportunity for sharing in this Japanese import via Canada. First, of course, Max has to make batter and cook it just so—shown step by step with vertically split half pages in Nishiuchi’s bright, blocky pictures—and discover his mistake by dishing the pancakes out. Noticing his exaggerated expression of misery as he regards his empty plate, the others generously cut their pancakes into quarters and pass them over one by one…but wait, that leaves all five mice with three quarters and one piece extra. Who gets it? The fortuitous arrival of Mommy Mouse solves the problem neatly and nicely. Though the mice eat their pancakes without toppings in the illustrations, the appended recipe (which properly includes a cautionary note about adult supervision) closes with an entirely appropriate recommendation to serve with butter and maple syrup. Stack toddler-friendly tributes like Lotta Nieminen’s Pancakes! An Interactive Recipe Book (2016) and Kathryn Smith’s Pancakes With Grandma, illustrated by Seb Braun (2020), atop this yummy outing.

A delectable dish with morsels of empathy, fair dealing, and even math in the list of ingredients. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-89802-161-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CrackBoom! Books

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

Totes adorbs.

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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