Not only a special adoption story, but also a heartwarming look at the human-animal relationship.

READ REVIEW

A MOM FOR UMANDE

At the center of this tale based on a true story is an adorable baby gorilla whose mother does not know how to take care of him.

When Umande is born on a winter night at the zoo, “[h]e cries, as if to say ‘Will you hold me?’ ” Unfortunately none of the other gorillas do. Faulconer writes simply, describing the facts of the situation. Readers are immediately drawn into the challenge that the zookeepers face. Around the clock, human caregivers groom, feed and model appropriate gorilla behavior to help ensure his future survival. Hartung uses oil glazes on sealed paper that is then rubbed or scratched to create textured effects. This technique allows the snowflakes to seem as if they are drifting off the page, and in other scenes, readers can almost feel the tufts of yellow hay that makes up Umande’s enclosed habitat. When he is about 8 months old, zookeepers decide to try and find a female gorilla at another zoo who can be a mother to Umande. Children will delight in seeing Umande peeking out the window of a plane and ultimately, over a period of weeks, connecting with Lulu, the gorilla who will be his new mom.

Not only a special adoption story, but also a heartwarming look at the human-animal relationship. (note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3762-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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