A lighthearted introduction to the Korean martial art—this lively kitty entertains.

CATKWONDO

A kitten claws her way to success in catkwondo.

“Observe the new student. She is eager. She is energetic.” She is also a gray, green-eyed kitten excited to break boards. Her sabeomnim, an elderly orange cat, gently guides her to take “One step at a time. In taekwondo, you must prepare both body and mind.” Despite the kitty’s excited first kicks and punches, she is unbalanced and lands on her bum with a “kerplunk!” Perfection does not come right away. Through practice at both the dojo and home, the kitten’s skills grow as she learns the patterns of movement and techniques. Her fellow furry felines of all stripes and colors also aid her in her journey, eventually helping her earn a yellow belt and pounce on her initial goal of breaking a board in half. Korean and taekwondo terms are seamlessly incorporated in the narrative, which is followed by a glossary. The terse sentences are often punctuated with bright onomatopoeia in display type, accompanied by action-packed images. Hunting draws each cat with an oversized round head and huge, circular eyes against a backdrop of bright, contrasting colors, giving the book an energetic tone. In addition to the comic portrayal of cats, the plot lays bare the tenacity and hard work required to achieve a goal.

A lighthearted introduction to the Korean martial art—this lively kitty entertains. (glossary) (Picture book 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68446-100-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Editions

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Hee haw.

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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

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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