A heartening, sweet, and distinctive look at one unusual migrant’s successful quest for a new home.

PAINT THE TOWN PINK

A town flocks together to welcome an unexpected fuchsia visitor.

Rose, a new flamingo in town, travels through the pages “in search for a flock of her own.” Her bright color makes her a good fit in a bridal party. Her flair allows Rose to be admitted in a flamenco dance troupe. And the flamingo’s iconic standing position qualifies her for a yoga class. As Rose searches for a family, readers are prompted to see which of Rose’s qualities make her both fit into each particular group and stand apart from them. Although she’s a good candidate for multiple groups, “none of them felt quite right.” The whole town becomes invested in making Rose a part of their flock, and townsfolk begin, as the title indicates, painting it pink to make the flamingo feel welcome in their society. Pink foods, pink yarns, and pink landmarks are all part of the town’s efforts to maintain their most “flamboyant” visitor as a permanent resident. Doody’s (Mallard Mallard, Moose, 2018, etc.) playful illustrations elicit sympathy from readers as Rose searches for a place to belong, delicately lined cartoons depicting the multiracial residents of this small Newfoundland city interacting with the bird. The backmatter, although concise, provides interesting facts about flamingos such as their life span and the origin of their pinkish hue.

A heartening, sweet, and distinctive look at one unusual migrant’s successful quest for a new home. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-927917-21-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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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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