THE BOY WHO RAN WITH THE GAZELLES

Stories of feral children abound, and they fascinate, but this one is disturbing in odd ways. A desert nomad woman has no milk, and so brings her pet gazelle for her small son to nurse. One day the boy and the gazelle wander off, and the tamed gazelle finds a herd of her own kind. She protects the boy and he learns to run and feed with the herd. Men with jeeps and nets discover and capture him; he’s terrified, will not eat and finally escapes. When he is spied in later years, grown but still with the gazelles, his discoverer does not speak of it, thinking the boy has found his home and should remain there. Gore’s golden, shimmering acrylic and pastel paintings show light and speed, terror and tenderness—the boy, though naked, is never seen fully. The young children at whom this is aimed may be confused about how the boy is actually fed, how he survives and why he is so unhappy when captured. A long author’s note about wild children doesn’t offer quite enough exegesis. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8037-2522-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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Hee haw.

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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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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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