A subtle cry for environmental activism in an enticing package.

READ REVIEW

SEA BEAR

A JOURNEY FOR SURVIVAL

In poetic prose, a polar bear reveals her dependency on the cycle of Arctic seasons.

The artwork is strikingly beautiful, with a palette that gives equal glory to such natural wonders as starry night skies, ocean depths, and the aurora borealis. The author/illustrator’s background in scientific illustration serves the book well; the bear staring directly at readers early on has glistening eyes and a nose that surely will smudge the opposite page. Renderings of Arctic habitats and their denizens are equally impressive. The text also excels. Complementing its enchanting rhythm, the text includes some enjoyable alliteration (“a weary raft of wary walruses”). The bear begins her story by telling readers that polar bears are patient animals and that she has learned patience from her mother. This sliver of anthropomorphism cleverly engages readers with this particular bear while giving a basic, scientific account of one year in a female polar bear’s life. The facts are fascinating. Polar bears apparently spend their lives alternately: gorging on seals and ambling on sea ice, then paddling toward terra firma during the annual ice melt, and then nearly starving while on land. The females move further inland to birth their cubs, and the cycle resumes as the ice rebuilds. “I will teach the sea’s rhythm to my cubs and whisper to them in the dark.”

A subtle cry for environmental activism in an enticing package. (endnotes) (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-279128-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more