A song about sharing that’s sure to lift readers’ spirits as well.

THE FOG

A people-watching yellow warbler finds a friend who shares his passion for noticing things.

Maclear chronicles Warble’s increasing frustration as fog blankets his ice-covered island, a “special place” once full of tourists. He can no longer watch the humans who visit his territory, and worse, his neighbors don’t seem to notice or care about the changes. Sadly, he almost forgets the passion of his earlier life until he spots No. 673, a juvenile “Red-Hooded Spectacled Female,” and she becomes a friend. Together they make origami boats and send them out to sea with messages to others beyond his island. Gradually the fog lifts. Pak’s digitally worked pencil-and-watercolor illustrations support and enhance this simple parable, especially in a wordless center spread showing Warble and the girl, who appears to be Asian, staring at each other through binoculars. Humor is to be found in the extensive human identifications that grace the endpapers and early pages of Warble’s story, a nod to the habits of bird-watchers like the author. Pastel wash represents the fog that “turned everything ghostly.” Their surroundings are gray. But as the fog begins to lift, “Big things. / And tiny things / Shiny red things. / And soft feathery things” reappear. Reaching out lifts both fog and spirits; it brightens days and nights.

A song about sharing that’s sure to lift readers’ spirits as well. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77049-492-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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