Adoptees may appreciate the message; introverts may want to look elsewhere.



Once Henrietta the elephant’s quiet is interrupted, there may be no going back to being satisfied with solitude.

Henrietta’s a classic introvert. She loves her Darjeeling and the morning paper. She loves swimming below the noisy geese at the lake and savoring the peace underwater. But one day, the elephant gets “a little too lost” in her thoughts, and she bonks her head on a piling. She bandages the “goose egg” she feels on her head with her trunk. (In-the-know listeners will be screaming with delight.) Henrietta’s brought up short when her egg hatches and she finds herself a “Mama!” When she is unable to return the imprinted baby to the nest, Henrietta takes her in, but her peace and solitude are shattered, and that only worsens as Goose grows. Finally, the clever elephant uses a brush and paint to transform her head into a mama goose, and she teaches the bird all she needs to know about being a goose. Goose flies off in the fall, but Henrietta’s quiet is now emptiness…until Goose returns with goslings of her own. Wong’s watercolor, colored pencil, gouache, and Photoshop illustrations are delightfully spare, keeping the focus on the expressive elephant and her dilemma. Henrietta is the only character with personality; Goose (and her goslings) is merely cute. While a sweet tale, it carries with it the rather overbearing assumption that introverts are, unbeknownst to them, probably actually lonely.

Adoptees may appreciate the message; introverts may want to look elsewhere. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-553-51157-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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?

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

  • Caldecott Honor Book


A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet