For families who are just as happy to do without sturm und drang in their new-baby books, this is just the ticket.

READ REVIEW

PETER IS JUST A BABY

A precocious big sister is unimpressed by her baby brother in this slice-of-life picture book on sibling dynamics.

Russo’s cheery gouache paintings depict a world of anthropomorphic bears in which the unnamed narrator rattles off her own accomplishments, comparing baby Peter unfavorably to herself. Doting parents and a Francophone grandmother shower love on both cubs, and Grandma even teaches her French. She uses her bilingual vocabulary to order apple pie à la mode and later to convey her dismay when chicken pox prevent her from attending a birthday party: “Quel dommage!” She expresses this same sentiment when ruefully recalling how she’d wished for a baby sister, not a brother, but by book’s end, Peter turns 1, and his big sister imagines all of the things he’ll be able to do as he gets older. While lacking in drama and not breaking much ground in the well-worn new-baby arena, it is refreshing to see a title that stretches the emotional range of the older sibling in such stories. This little girl is not wracked with jealousy; she’s just a little disappointed and unimpressed by her brother since he’s “just a baby.”

For families who are just as happy to do without sturm und drang in their new-baby books, this is just the ticket. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5384-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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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

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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