Adults will likely appreciate this low-key introduction to a far-off place, but young listeners may not find quite enough...

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JAMAL'S JOURNEY

A young camel is lost in a sandstorm then finds his way to his owners.

Foreman’s straightforward text and soft double-page spreads with the look of watercolor and pencil take readers directly into his tale: “Walk, walk, walk. That’s what camels do.” Jamal, a “little camel,” admires his parents’ long legs and envies the falcons, who either ride or travel on their own strong wings. Still, Jamal seems cheerful enough until a sandstorm suddenly erupts. By the time it passes, night has come, and he is alone. Jamal encounters several animals the following day, but none offers help. When he spots a falcon circling above, Jamal follows. Soon he spies the modern city of Dubai—and the group of travelers moving toward it. Rather than ending with the reunion of Jamal, his parents, and their Bedouin owners (including a jubilant little boy), Foreman carries his tale and the travelers into the bustling marketplace—as well as a briefly imagined future. Brightly colored textiles and the varying shapes of other wares provide a pleasing contrast to the relatively barren, though beautifully depicted, desert that dominates the previous pictures. Wide eyes and expressive faces on the various animals also help to add a little interest.

Adults will likely appreciate this low-key introduction to a far-off place, but young listeners may not find quite enough action or context to make the trip worthwhile. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-3949-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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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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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