Lovely artwork combined with goodwill toward men.

READ REVIEW

MAY I COME IN?

Thunderstorms are for sharing.

Rain poured. / Raccoon shivered. / Thunder roared. / Raccoon quivered.” Raccoon is not altogether comfortable alone in his den as the storm outside rages. Nevertheless, he braves the wet night in order to find some company with whom he can share his collywobbles. In a narrative composed of onomatopoeia and occasional verse, Raccoon travels through the woods, dropping in on Possum, Quail, and Woodchuck in turn, only to be refused entry because there isn’t enough room. “Swish, swish, PLISH.” Raccoon pushes on through the darkness and rain—Poh’s fine artwork resembles particularly good theatrical backdrops against which her stylized figures stand out—until he reaches Rabbit’s hutch, overrun with little rabbits. Raccoon thinks it’s another bust until Rabbit says, “What good luck….Come right in. There’s always room for a good friend.” Being rabbits, they have to be space-ready. Soon enough Possum, Quail, and Woodchuck come knocking, seeking emotional shelter from the storm, and they, too, are welcomed in for some carrot stew and to romp with the 10 little rabbits. Come on in, the story says without saying it, which is always the best way, there’s always room for one more. Readers may notice that only Rabbit is identified as female, which reinforces more than one stereotype.

Lovely artwork combined with goodwill toward men. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-394-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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