Readers will not want to miss this migration story.

AKPA'S JOURNEY

The amazing migration of a murre chick, hatched in the Arctic and combining swimming and flying for a journey unique in the bird world.

Nesting high on cliffs that tower above the sea, murres gather in the thousands, nesting pairs taking turns guarding the egg from predators and keeping it warm and then feeding the chick once hatched. The book follows the titular chick as he grows through late summer. On a night with a full moon, the fathers and chicks leap off the cliffs into the sea. The young birds cannot yet fly and will start their migrations by swimming with their fathers. Along the route, Akpa grows stronger, learns important skills, and meets a narwhal, a walrus, and a seal, all of whom give him advice that comes in handy several weeks later when it’s at last time for Akpa to take to the skies to finish his journey. This relatively unknown migration will fascinate readers who are mature enough to sit through the rather lengthy text, and the language will captivate: Winter would soon be “slowly stitching the waves together with ice.” “Fish darted like silver needles sewing a silky blue gown.” The blockiness of the cliffs lends a nice visual texture to the slightly stylized artwork, especially against the blues of the sky and sea. Dialogue uses italicized text rather than quotation marks, and the endnote contains additional vital information. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Readers will not want to miss this migration story. (range map, glossary of Inuktut words) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-77227-429-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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Hee haw.

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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 nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

STELLA DÍAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY

From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

Speaking up is hard when you’re shy, and it can be even harder if you’ve got two languages in your head.

Third-grader Estrella “Stella” Díaz, is a shy, Mexican-American girl who draws pictures and loves fish, and she lives in Chicago with her mother and older brother, Nick. Jenny, Stella’s best friend, isn’t in her class this year, and Stella feels lonely—especially when she sees that Vietnamese-American Jenny is making new friends. When a new student, Stanley Mason, arrives in her class, Stella introduces herself in Spanish to the white former Texan without realizing it and becomes embarrassed. Surely Stanley won’t want to befriend her after that—but he seems to anyway. Stella often confuses the pronunciation between English and Spanish sounds and takes speech classes. As an immigrant with a green card—a “legal alien,” according to her teacher—Stella feels that she doesn’t fully belong to either American culture or Mexican culture, and this is nicely reflected in her not being fully comfortable in either language, an experience familiar to many immigrant and first-generation children. This early-middle-grade book features italicized Spanish words and phrases with direct translations right after. There is a small subplot about bullying from Stella’s classmate, and readers will cheer as they see how, with the help of her friends and family, Stella overcomes her shyness and gives a presentation on Jacques Cousteau. Dominguez’s friendly black-and-white drawings grace most pages.

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-858-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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