Reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are in its visual transformations and emotional intensity, but with a more present and...

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APPLESAUCE

“My daddy has warm hands. His fingers taste like applesauce. I wish he had a thousand hands.”

Spare of words but rich in feeling, this love note tracks some ups and downs but circles back to an attachment so warm and close that only the stoniest of hearts will remain unaffected. Tagging along as his father washes up in the morning, sacks out in front of the television after some vigorous outdoor play and then goes on into the kitchen to peel apples, the young narrator makes contented comments about dad’s hands, muscles and stomach (“soft as a pillow”). When an unspecified offense brings on “thunder daddy,” though, the miffed lad heads for “the forest of Other-and-Better”—a staircase, in the pictures, that transforms into a dense, dark forest of trees with shouting mouths—in search of a nicer parent. The scary experience drives him back into the kitchen where dad, who had himself transformed into a hairy, scowling gorilla, offers a bowl of applesauce and reverts bit by bit over a wordless spread as amity is restored. Aside from an early remark that papa “sounds like a mom when he sings in the bath,” there’s no sign of a second adult.

Reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are in its visual transformations and emotional intensity, but with a more present and openly loving parent. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55498-186-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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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 quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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