The loving encounters among animals of different species (and Lauricella’s real-world endeavor to help animals with special...

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PINEY THE GOAT NANNY

From the GOA Kids - Goats of Anarchy series

With its retro, appealingly soft-edged digital art, this is the engaging story of how a piglet becomes the “goat nanny” of the title.

Piney the piglet lives inside a farmhouse with his human “mom,” who bakes and vacuums but who also rescues animals, especially goats. At first “mom” just wants him to enjoy life, but Piney longs to have a job just like everyone else. “The chickens ate the bugs and the goats chomped up the weeds.” After trying to help with household chores (Piney becomes entangled in the vacuum cord), he finally finds his special niche. There’s a new goat who needs comforting, a task that Piney apparently can take on. Tiny Prospect grows strong under Piney’s care. When he moves outside, Chibs (with “curled up” legs) and Lyla (with “three legs”) show up and receive the same nurturing care. Howarth’s illustrations are bright and uncomplicated, depicting smiling animals in a somewhat idealized farm setting; readers never see “mom’s” face, just pale hands and ankles. In a short photo essay at the book’s end, Piney’s story is revealed as “The True Story.” The combination of a picture book with the factual story works to show young children how true experiences can be turned effectively into stories.

The loving encounters among animals of different species (and Lauricella’s real-world endeavor to help animals with special needs) are great examples to help children develop empathy. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-332-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.

LITTLE JOE CHICKAPIG

Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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