Be sure to snuggle up to “the stuffed kind” of bears and share this book with future Scaredy Squirrel series fans.

READ REVIEW

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO BEAR SPOTTING

A handy story for little adventurers curious about the outdoor world.

In this British import, Robinson breaks the wall between book and audience to advise readers about the precautions needed when exploring country life. Laid out as a blend of a field journal and pictorial narrative, the story presents the young main character, ready for an adventurous walk in the woods. As the backpack-toting, balaclava- and plaid-jacket–clad child strides confidently into the forest, the text suggests to readers, “You’d better make sure you know your bears.” A turn of the page reveals field-note illustrations, scientific names, and descriptions of black and brown bears. When the protagonist finally encounters not one, but two bears, readers will realize that it takes more than a guidebook to face your fears—and not everything is as dangerous as it might seem. With autumnal colors, Roberts guides readers’ eyes toward detailed and minimalistic illustrations of flora, fauna, and fungi characteristic of the deep woods. The freckle-faced child has dark skin and is of indeterminate gender. Graph-paper backgrounds, different fonts, and the silliness of the main character make this a quirky, appealing title.

Be sure to snuggle up to “the stuffed kind” of bears and share this book with future Scaredy Squirrel series fans. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68119-026-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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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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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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