Those who can get behind the Little Green Girl’s faceless anthropomorphism might find the gambols of this...

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THE LITTLE GREEN GIRL

A girl plant, nurtured from a wind-borne seed, helps a homebody gardener branch out and see the world.

Habit-loving Mr. Aster has an abiding love for garden, greenhouse, and home. “But tending a new seed fit nicely into Mr. Aster’s routine.” Soon, the growing plant achieves a personified sentience—and a gender, courtesy of an omniscient narrator. Mr. Aster, who is white, transplants the Little Green Girl and tells her about “their world.” In the walled garden among free-form trees and shrubs, the Little Green Girl is a faceless, leafy figure with a sunflowerlike crown and short, flared skirt accented with orange-yellow blossoms. She enjoys dog Basil and the garden’s squirrels and rabbits, but migrating birds, regaling her with their travels, induce wanderlust. Mr. Aster thwarts her attempts to leave, pruning her vining stems and (oddly) bandaging the roots she tries to pull up. Determined, she enjoins the animals to help her dig herself up and confronts Mr. Aster, appearing before him transplanted into a pot, wearing sunglasses. Man, dog, and plant set off, with Anchin’s amusing full-bleed and spot illustrations (in acryla gouache and pencil) placing them in tropical, desert, and urban settings. Travel broadens Mr. Aster: He plants succulents and palms, and he even initiates the trio’s next trip.

Those who can get behind the Little Green Girl’s faceless anthropomorphism might find the gambols of this quasi–father-daughter team diverting. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-735-23073-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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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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A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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