Readers will hope to see more of Henry Bear

MAKE A WISH, HENRY BEAR

Henry Bear’s parents have been entirely too much “fun” since he wished them so on his last birthday; on this birthday, he knows exactly what to wish for.

Mama and Papa Bear beg him to stay up past bedtime. “Just ten more minutes?…Pleeeeease?” Yawning, Henry Bear gets out of bed to play with his parents. They want to climb trees (“Higher!”), play on the swings, and ride bikes—but tomorrow is a school day, Henry Bear reminds them, and he puts himself to bed. Mama Bear serves chocolate cake for breakfast, and his parents suggest they all stay home and watch TV. Mama says school is boring, but Henry rushes off. At school he meets a new girl named Marjani, who appears to be dressed in a shalwar kameez with hijab. They become friends, and Henry Bear invites her over for his birthday. It’s a good thing she comes, because Mama Bear serves a big bowl of candy—no cake, since they “always” have that!—but thank goodness, Marjani brings him a cupcake with a candle on top. Henry Bear is lovable, and his humorous dilemma will resonate with any child who has ever wished their parents were more fun. The illustrations are simple yet sophisticated, with a distinct mustard-slate-brick color palette and multiple patterns. Henry Bear’s European-inspired town of cobblestone and tile roofs is the perfect setting for this funny, playful tale.

Readers will hope to see more of Henry Bear . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-332-0

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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