Elegantly designed for young fans of ancient Egypt, this sweet ghost story of a pet’s love for its owner transcends time.

MUMMY CAT

“Deep within this maze of stone, / a creature wakes up, all alone.”

On this evening in Egypt, a cat that has been mummified and placed inside a pyramid awakens “for the first time in a hundred years.” Will he find what he is looking for? Ewert has created a compelling story that masterfully melds introductory information about the ancient Egyptian practice of mummification, its royalty, the people’s reverence of cats, and a look at hieroglyphics. As the cat explores the tomb, he fondly remembers his owner, Hatshepsut, and all they did together. Brown expertly employs a mix of media to create illustrations in a palette of soft browns with pops of blue, yellow, and orange hues. Paintings on the pyramid’s walls depict not only the cat and the queen’s relationship, but also the perils of being an Egyptian ruler. The mummy cat wanders, lonely. “This cold, golden coffin—is this all he gets? / Where is the girl he can never forget?” Readers will smile as the page turn reveals the mummy queen beginning to emerge from her sarcophagus. For those who would like to learn more, the backmatter includes succinct yet helpful notes on “Mummies, Cats, Queens, and Hieroglyphs.” A seek-and-find feature with sets of hieroglyphs invites further investigation as well.

Elegantly designed for young fans of ancient Egypt, this sweet ghost story of a pet’s love for its owner transcends time. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-34082-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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