A single ball of yarn threatens and then strengthens an animal friendship in this slight tale. (Picture book. 4-6)

A FRIENDSHIP YARN

One ball of yarn plus two BFFs who both knit can lead to good intentions and a frayed friendship.

Badger and Porcupine share their days and their meals. One day, a peddler passing by drops a ball of red yarn, which unrolls entirely till it is one long string stretched out and wound around the woods. Porcupine and Badger each pick up one end. Each is industrious, and with knitting needles in hand they proceed to fashion gifts, each for the other, to the tune of “Floop. Floop. Floop-floop-floop.” When their projects unravel and they realize that they are sharing one ball, however, the two fall into a snit and proceed to fashion increasingly grand objects for themselves. A hammock, a tent, and a sail for a boat are all knit and purled into creation. But then night falls, the temperature drops, and the two meet on an icy field to exchange sweaters that they have made for each other. All is well in their world now. Moser’s tale of a friendship that cannot be torn apart by selfishness is sweet but not unfamiliar. Demidova’s colorful illustrations depict a lovely forest setting and a swirling strand of red yarn. Children may ponder the dilemma of a porcupine wearing a knit garment, though.

A single ball of yarn threatens and then strengthens an animal friendship in this slight tale. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0762-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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