A lively #ownvoices romp into the power of intention—and the hilarity of trial and error.


In this playful retelling of an Inuit origin story, a feisty elder creates two of the Arctic’s most celebrated animals.

Guk, an Inuit woman with graying braids and light brown skin, has the power to “breath[e] life into the world.” With imagination and exuberance, Guk creates the walrus and the caribou. Young readers may notice that Guk’s creations aren’t quite as they should be: The walrus sports “huge antlers” while the caribou’s snout contains fearsome tusks. Aside from their comical appearances (rendered whimsically in Cutler’s cartoony illustrations), the walrus’ and caribou’s mismatched features also wreak havoc on the human world. The walrus’ antlers accidentally “overturn the kayaks in the water”; meanwhile, “every time it saw a hunter, the caribou would charge him with its tusks.” Guk addresses these issues by gleefully swapping the appendages to better suit the animals. In a final act of reckoning, Guk punishes the caribou for its cantankerous attacks against the hunters, via a swift kick—thereby giving the caribou its distinctively flat forehead and skittishness of humans. Inuit author Harper’s high-spirited version of this Indigenous oral tale will make a delightful addition to both libraries and personal collections. Backmatter includes a short Inuktitut glossary with a link to more Inuktitut language resources.

A lively #ownvoices romp into the power of intention—and the hilarity of trial and error. (author’s introduction, glossary) (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77227-256-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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