A SNOW DAY FOR HANNAH

A puppy goes on joyful adventures in this photo-filled rhyming picture book.

  Hannah is an adorable Bernese Mountain Dog puppy who loves to play in the snow. After realizing that a snowstorm is coming, Hannah hurries inside—only to return outdoors to sled, build a snowman and hike through the woods once the sun has returned. The photographs, full of breathtaking scenery, are engaging, particularly those that show Hannah in action. However, the rhymes are often forced and contain challenging vocabulary for young readers: "As she headed for home / she could feel the storm coming / with her fine sense of smell, / her sight, and her cunning." Bunch gives Hannah the gift of speech, attributing observations directly to the young pup ("The air smells so clean!" / She barked right out loud), but in most instances, Hannah acts like a normal pooch. The moments she takes on human qualities are jarring, such as when she is buried up to her neck in a snow angel. Evidence of humans is clearly present, such as when Hannah walks along a paved road or perches in a human-sized chair to watch the snowfall from inside. The story would be stronger if a human appeared to create a snow angel—or "help" Hannah build a snowman—rather than anthropomorphizing the puppy. Furthermore, some of the digital editing makes Hannah and landmarks, such as a sign for a hiking trail, appear superimposed. Hannah's genuine poses and the scenery are so delightful that the editing feels unnecessary. Very young readers, however, aren’t likely to be concerned with such incongruities. Hannah is an engaging enough character that awkward moments in the narration and pressures to suspend disbelief are easily forgiven. Practiced readers struggling with the advanced vocabulary may be less satisfied.   With a cute hero and gorgeous vistas depicted in clear, bright photos, young readers will happily curl up on a parent's lap to see Hannah's antics.

 

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0977778119

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Book Club Productions

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19

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?

more