A neat look at connections many children can see in action

READ REVIEW

IF YOU LOVE HONEY

A cycle of logical syllogisms takes readers from the title stipulation through a series of conclusions that ends at the beginning.

It’s hard to argue with the logic. “If you love honey, / Then you must love honey bees. // If you love honey bees, / It’s no wonder you love dandelions.” Each statement appears on a double-page spread accompanied by a related fact: bees must visit about 2 million flowers to produce a pound of honey, for instance. The chain of affection extends from dandelions to ladybugs to goldenrod to butterflies to clover to the soil to earthworms to mushrooms to oak trees to blue jays to blackberries and back to honeybees and honey. While some of the connections are a bit of a stretch, the short explanatory text generally explains the logic, and it is summarized in the backmatter. Morrison’s illustrations are crisp if a bit on the stiff side, and they include many details not mentioned in the text, such as a family of bears on a honey raid fleeing angry guard bees and a whole host of insects, amphibians, and other fauna that inhabit this bucolic environment. The beekeeper is assisted by an African-American child, who shares a picnic with her Caucasian friend, who provides the berries. Copious backmatter provides further information on pollination, honeybees and other beneficial insects, and flowers and seed spreaders, as well as activities and Web resources.

A neat look at connections many children can see in action . (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58469-533-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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