LITTLE BUTTERFLY

Avoid this confusing fantasy and instead seek out one of the many excellent books that directly discuss the monarch’s...

When her cat injures the wing of a monarch butterfly at the opening of this wordless story, the blonde little white girl is delighted to discover that the creature can still fly.

Curling up under her orange cape for a nap in the grass, she is soon covered with a blanket of monarchs, who carry her over land and sea to a grove of trees covered in butterflies. Alighting, she sprouts monarch wings of her own and then, abruptly, is depicted lying on the ground again. Working with pencils and digital media, Logan uses a controlled palette: the butterflies, the girl’s cape, and a few leaves and flowers are orange; the water and occasional patches of sky are blue; everything else is soft gray. A rent in the girl’s cape together with its color connect her visually with the injured butterfly, a detail children will appreciate. They will, however, be puzzled by much else, starting with the story’s ambiguity: is her journey real, or is it a dream? The pictorial clues are mixed. How does the little girl grasp all those butterflies? And, having established the visual leitmotif of the torn wing, Logan disappoints readers by not clearly depicting the girl’s special friend during the fantastical flight. In a note, Logan describes her feeling of wonder at butterfly migration.

Avoid this confusing fantasy and instead seek out one of the many excellent books that directly discuss the monarch’s amazing journey. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-228126-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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