A playful and entertaining take on children’s perennial questions surrounding ideas of personhood, family and community.

PRINCESS PISTACHIO

From the Princess Pistachio series

The arrival of a tiara in the mail is the tipping point in evidence for Pistachio Shoelace that she is really a princess—but no one seems to believe her.

In five short and humorous chapters readers learn that Pistachio has long believed that a “ghastly witch, green with envy” stole her, the Papuan princess, and allowed her adoption by Mr. and Mrs. Shoelace of 23 Maple St. Pistachio attempts to dress and act the part of her ideal, pampered, “real princess”—but no one, including her mother, plays along. When she tries to avoid looking after her baby sister, Pistachio’s mother only tells her that princesses “always obey their mothers, or they go without television for a week.” And her best friend, Madeline, actually laughs at Pistachio’s sudden, unexpected costume and behaviors. The skillful combination of text and illustrations addresses many serious concerns of early childhood—and even of parenthood—without straying from the book’s tone of fun and frivolity. (Among the issues so adeptly addressed are adoption, sibling relationships, classmate rejection and a missing child.) The characters are pen-and-ink creations tinted with bright watercolors; Pistachio’s russet braid and freckled face are reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking and the author’s own Stella. Whimsical names (Pistachio’s teacher is Mrs. Trumpethead) add to the fun. 

A playful and entertaining take on children’s perennial questions surrounding ideas of personhood, family and community. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-927485-69-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more