Picture perfect whatever the weather.

READ REVIEW

WHEN THE STORM COMES

Weathering storms is best done together.

“What do you do when the clouds roll in, / When the wind chimes clang and the weather vanes spin?” the opening text asks as Yoo’s illustration focuses on rooftops, above which sea gulls wheel and leaves begin to blow. The page turn reveals two scenes as the narrative voice shifts to answer. “We watch. We sniff. We perk our ears, / and listen as the rumbling nears. / We count supplies. We check the news. / We find our comfort spot. We s n o o z e.” On verso, families of foxes and squirrels take notice of thunder while on recto, a human family breaks out candles and a flashlight as the cat sleeps, undisturbed. These parallel scenes move on through the rest of the book, sometimes on facing pages, sometimes not. The humans portrayed comprise a diverse, multiracial cast while the animals include family pets, whales, rabbits, birds, and bees (inaccurately depicted taking shelter in a paper-wasp nest). Yoo’s friendly illustrations have a soft visual texture, and while the palette darkens considerably at the height of the storm and some characters register alarm at the thunder and lightning, the art overall creates a cozy, safe feeling. Yes, Ashman’s rhythmic couplets are about a literal thunderstorm bearing down upon a coastal community, but it could well be read metaphorically as it depicts the strength found in facing challenges together.

Picture perfect whatever the weather. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-399-54609-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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