BIG MEAN MIKE

A warning: This book may make you like cute bunnies.

Big Mean Mike likes monster-truck shows. This is puzzling, because he’s bigger than some of the trucks. Big Mean Mike wears combat boots he bought at a store called Big Boots. Mike, it’s worth noting, is a dog, with a spiked collar. Mike should never own a bunny, but small, cute bunnies keep appearing in his sports car. One shows up in his trunk. Another shows up in his glove compartment. To Knudsen’s credit, this is never explained. Magoon has made the bunnies exactly as adorable as they need to be. They’re never cloying, but they’re fuzzy and round, and readers will feel embarrassed for Mike when he has to carry them past his friends, who are wearing muscle shirts and the occasional eye patch. The small details may be the real reason to buy the book. The grille of Mike’s car looks like the teeth of a shark. One of the toughest dogs has a cat’s skull and crossbones on his shirt, along with the words “HERE, KITTY, KITTY.” And every young reader will spot the Batmobile at the edge of a parking lot. When Mike finally learns to love his bunnies, the illustrations have set up the moment perfectly. They look like they belong together. Even the toughest readers will crumble under the appeal of these bunnies. (Picture book. 4-8)  

 

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4990-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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