TELL THE TRUTH, PANGOLIN

A noble look at the courage needed for honesty.

A pangolin must decide whether or not to lie to the Queen.

With a great big smile on his face, Pangolin is swinging in the sunshine on the palace grounds. But suddenly, to his horror, the swing breaks. “Heavens! What have I done? And what will I tell the Queen?” Pangolin consults his friends for advice. Badger suggests saying that a royal musician needed the strings for a lute. Goose has an even stranger idea: “Perhaps you can say that a giant bird mistook the ropes for worms.” And Pug? Well, Pug suggests blaming aliens. Fox and Cat also contribute possibilities. Stammering and quaking, Pangolin must make a decision. What will he tell the Queen? Lush, jewel-toned illustrations thrum with warmth; outside the palace, the rolling landscape is filled with endless flowers and swooping trees. Inside, ornate windows and scalloped archways present a truly royal atmosphere. Beatty expertly taps into a childlike perspective; she’s keenly aware that to avoid trouble, youngsters often spin fantastical explanations and that the push and pull of truth-telling can result in an agonizing internal debate. Luckily, all ends well when Pangolin finally decides to own up to the Queen—and the conclusion will point readers in the right direction when facing similar conundrums. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A noble look at the courage needed for honesty. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18013-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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