TOO CROWDED

A goldfish seeks drier pastures.

Gil lives in a round glass bowl with “a plant, a castle, and 138 pebbles to clean every day.” But it is “TOO CROWDED!” Gil cries, cradling his snoot after bumping it against the side of his bowl. In a shocking, jubilant twist, Gil slaps a bandage on his nose, shoves his rear fins into some sneakers, and packs a rolling bag, off on a quest to find a new house “that is not too crowded.” A bird’s nest is roomy, but the bird song is “TOO LOUD!” Cat’s house is huge and quiet, but…there’s a cat in it. Gil hitches a ride on Turtle’s house, but when the spoilsport reptile reminds him that fish “can’t breathe air,” Gil suddenly realizes that he’s suffocating. This plays out in vignettes in dramatic, Wile E. Coyote fashion. Luckily, his human, an overalls-clad Black child with short, curly hair and a bow, comes to the rescue and brings Gil back to his bowl. And when Turtle moves in too, it turns out that a bowl with a plant, a castle, 138 pebbles, and a friend is not too crowded after all. The story is a satisfying balance of familiar and fresh, with an endearing protagonist and an especially timely message about isolation and connection.

Utterly delightful. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2238-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more