Although the message that newer is not always better will be welcome with caregivers, it’s unlikely this book will change...


From the Berenstain Bears series

When show-and-tell becomes all about the latest gadgets and newest stuff, Sister and Brother come up with an item for Sister to present that breaks the consumerist mold.

It all starts with a cellphone. After that particular day’s show-and-tell, all the cubs go home and beg for one of their own. Some parents give in. Some do not. On the next scheduled day, Sister brings in her Bearbie doll, but before it’s her turn, a friend presents the new Fit-and-Trim Super-Exercise Bearbie, and suddenly Sister’s Bearbie looks plain and boring. On the way home, Brother helps a glum Sister think of a solution, and the two raid the attic; the perfect thing turns out to be old, interactive, but non-electronic: a Twirl-a-Hoop (readers will know it as a hula hoop). It is a huge hit at the next show-and-tell, and not just among the students: Teacher Jane and Principal Honeycomb even take turns. Unfortunately, the tale ends there, and readers will never find out if Sister has changed the show-off nature of her class’ show-and-tell presentations. And while Sister and Brother’s mission is an admirable one, it’s rather unlike children of their ages. The look of Berenstain’s illustrations fits seamlessly with earlier series entries by his parents.

Although the message that newer is not always better will be welcome with caregivers, it’s unlikely this book will change any children’s minds about trying to top their classmates’ latest and greatest gadgets. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-235031-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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 must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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