It's not a complex story, but it's a wise one that shows through a specific example how siblings get along, even when they...

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HUG IT OUT!

The push and literal pull (usually hair) of sibling rivalry is explored in a direct and comically knowing way in animator Thomas’ debut picture book.

Woody and Annie, whose names can't be an accidental allusion to the famous New York filmmaker, are a brother and sister who can't stop fighting. They’ve stressed out their mother, who, in a had-enough moment of brilliance, serves up a fitting punishment: Woody and Annie must hug out every conflict. The fighting continues in progressively ferocious fashion until the hugging punishment proves too much. “ ‘I can't take one more hug,’ Annie finally admitted. ‘Me neither,’ sighed Woody. ‘I'm as flat as a pancake!’ ” The two spend time apart until the inevitable thaw brings them back together toward a predictable but highly effective punch line: getting into trouble because they miss the hugs. Not surprisingly, Thomas’ watercolors throughout convey a strong sense of cinematic motion: as Mom contemplates the first “Hug it out,” a double-page spread gives readers the equivalent of a suspenseful close-up. There's a cute cat and a mouse hiding in the background of some of the pages, but it's Annie and Woody, a pair of white towheads, who fill this book with smarts and life.

It's not a complex story, but it's a wise one that shows through a specific example how siblings get along, even when they often don't. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30314-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 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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