Topsy-turvy offbeat fun.

READ REVIEW

WASH ON!

A girl alters a simple phrase and changes the world.

Petronilla sits in the bathtub. “Wash on!” she says, and although her mother tries to correct her (“Not wash on, sweetheart….Wash off”), Petronilla’s phrase sticks and the physical world obeys. “Wash off,” natch, would have meant messes coming off; “wash on” means that colors begin to transfer everywhere. First they’re on Petronilla’s cheek and two washcloths; next they’re splotching around the bathroom and into other rooms until “the house looked like a kaleidoscope.” A flabbergasted doctor can’t help and only diagnoses “acute coloritis!” and the colors fly across the neighborhood and around the planet. Gauthier’s gorgeous mixed-media illustrations are quirky and angled, with an energetic combination of drawn lines, watery paint, cut paper, wood textures, and photo collage. The exact workings of the action “wash on”—the mechanism that makes colors move everywhere—is clear only textually and not visually, because along with errant color splotches, the illustrations use tilting lines, overlapping shapes, and abstract composition to create visual upheaval. The art isn’t easy to pull the story from, but it’s beautiful. As it becomes “hard to see the difference between the dog or the flower vase or the couch” and the dog disappears into the abstraction, Petronilla finally rethinks the acceptable scope of washing on. Petronilla and her family seem to be white.

Topsy-turvy offbeat fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77278-018-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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