Understanding each other’s unique needs is a tricky lesson to navigate—Ella and Penguin do so with charm and wit.

READ REVIEW

A PERFECT MATCH

From the Ella and Penguin series

The kindly duo from Ella and Penguin Stick Together (2015) explore another friendship theme.

Penguin has found the perfect pair of striped pants to wear. But Ella is wearing a tutu and thinks that Penguin should wear one, too. After all, friends have to match. Penguin doesn’t want to disappoint, so he carefully squeezes into a tutu, his rosy cheeks growing redder with effort. A small “pfff” escapes his beak. When it is time for a snack, Ella suggests peppermints. Penguin decides he likes peppermints, too. “Because we’re friends! So we match!” Ella, the face of perfect contentment, delights in her candy, but Penguin spits his out in a minty rush. “Haaaaah! Hehhhhhh! Huuuuuh!” Poor Penguin, while getting the short end of the stick in every situation, is a comedic gem. Bonnet renders Penguin’s face into many agonizing contortions until suddenly he explodes in frustration: “This tutu is TOO TOO TIGHT!” Penguin and Ella’s friendship seems doomed. Friends have to like the same things, don’t they? Luckily, they realize they don’t have to match all the time. Maynor’s childcentric text is funny and empathetic. Ella is depicted as a little, light-skinned girl with dark hair, and Penguin is, well, a penguin.

Understanding each other’s unique needs is a tricky lesson to navigate—Ella and Penguin do so with charm and wit. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-233089-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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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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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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