A new classic for new big brothers and sisters.

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ROLY POLY

A young polar bear learns to accept his role of big brother to a new arrival in his family.

Roly Poly is happy being the only child, cherished by his loving parents. He enjoys skating, fishing, and snuggling up in his own cozy bed. On the nightstand next to Roly Poly’s bed is a tiny copy of Time for Bed, the beloved 1993 classic by Fox and Dyer, reunited again as a creative team with this heartwarming story. Roly Poly’s world is shaken when a little brother named Monty shows up unexpectedly one morning, sleeping right next to Roly Poly. The older brother is annoyed by Monty’s attempts to play and is horrified when Monty grabs a freshly caught fish and steals Roly Poly’s special walrus tooth. But when Monty’s life is in danger as he floats away on an ice floe, Roly Poly realizes he does care for his brother, and he dives into the icy water to save Monty. The dramatic rescue isn’t shown in the illustrations, so readers must imagine the specifics of saving Monty for themselves. In a departure from her signature watercolors, Dyer has created charming, needle-felted polar bears as the characters, photographed with tiny accessories in miniature rooms or snowy, outdoor settings. Fox’s spare text demonstrates her deep understanding of a youngster’s intense emotions, subtly showing Roly Poly’s growth from a self-centered toddler to a big brother who can take responsibility for a younger brother he has grown to love.

A new classic for new big brothers and sisters. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4556-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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