Next book

SQUID KID THE MAGNIFICENT

Delightful brother-and-sister snark in squid form—yes, really. (Picture book. 4-7)

In supersaturated oceanic color, squidling Oliver, purple and with top hat and wand, becomes Squid Kid the Magnificent after saying the magic words: “smelly yellow jellyfish.”

His ponytailed, fuchsia older sister, Stella, is unimpressed. When Oliver disappears in a cloud of squid ink, Stella points out that it isn’t magic—any squid can do it. Stella is particularly alarmed by Oliver’s use of her pet cuttlefish, Cuddles, in his act, and she notes that “cuttlefish change colors ALL THE TIME,” and that isn’t magic either. Oliver soldiers on, trying one last trick, but Stella has a trick up her, er, tentacles, too. Oliver’s magician’s patter is quite fine, and Berry’s good use of occasional internal rhyme and alliteration makes this a likely read-aloud. A couple of gatefolds add visual pop to the deep colors, and details charm. There’s the occasional audience of a besotted clam (note the hearts), and a yellow puffer fish acts as silent sidekick to Oliver. It’s hard to decide which is funnier: the single orthodontic bracket on Stella’s beak or Oliver’s magic chant.

Delightful brother-and-sister snark in squid form—yes, really. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6119-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

Next book

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 72


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • IndieBound Bestseller

Next book

THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 72


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • IndieBound Bestseller

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. 28, 2018

Categories:
Close Quickview