The dichotomy between the adult tasks and the simply worded rhyming text makes this one to skip.

HOW TO SPY ON A SHARK

Houran invites readers along as a group of marine biologists tracks and follows a juvenile mako shark.

The marine biologists use a net to catch the young shark, attaching a tag to the pup’s pelvic fin. They then use a robot to track and monitor the shark, keeping tabs on its movements and eating habits. At the end of the day, the scientists (two women and one man, one Caucasian and two of indeterminate ethnicity) pull up the robot and wave goodbye to the sharks. Unfortunately, the author misses the mark in choosing to write in second person. “Take a boat ride / out to sea / until you spy a fin. // Get all set / to get all wet / and splash! / go diving in.” Instead of tagging along on an adventure, readers may feel like they are being given orders and instructions, and many will feel uncomfortable or not up to the task. The simple illustrations bring readers up close to the action, but they are not part of it, as the text suggests. Backmatter gives a little more information about the topics presented—sharks fall asleep when they are turned belly up; makos can swim up to 35 mph—but this would have captured more interest within the body of the text.

The dichotomy between the adult tasks and the simply worded rhyming text makes this one to skip. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3402-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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