Powerful in its sweet, childlike simplicity.

NOAH'S SEAL

A day at the beach with Nana becomes an adventure when seals are involved.

Noah has spent several days at the seaside with his grandmother. While Nana works on fixing up their boat, Noah waits eagerly for the day when they can go out for a sail and see the seals. On this day, Noah is playing in the sand and notices that the pile of sand he has made looks an awful lot like a seal. After adding stones and seaweed to make spots and a face, he is quite pleased with his new friend. But a storm comes, and he and Nana must hide in the boat until it passes. Noah is saddened to find his friend gone when the storm passes. The boat is fixed, but it’s time to go home. Unless…what’s that out in the water? A friend beckoning them to sail today? With well-paced energy and a satisfying final spread, this sweet tale featuring a brown-skinned boy and his loving adult, a woman of color, turns a day at the beach into a magical experience. The fact that Noah and Nana have the beach all to themselves makes his imaginative play and intimacy with the natural world all the more potent. The textures and colors of the illustrations make each spread a delight to the eyes.

Powerful in its sweet, childlike simplicity. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1851-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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