Ultimately more about highlighting the culture of Nunavut than learning any life lessons, but it’s still a cute story...


Inuit author Mike (Leah’s Mustache Party, 2016) channels her northern roots in this lighthearted parable of mismatched friendship.

Ukaliq is a high-energy Arctic hare who is always up for a new adventure. Kalla is a fastidious lemming who plans ahead and prefers staying cozy at home. When Ukaliq invites Kalla out for a day of fishing he is impatient to get started. In his haste Ukaliq neglects to bring snacks and extra fuel; his impetuousness even hampers his ability to nab any nibbling char. Fortunately, Kalla is patient and thoughtful and helps guide his friend to a successful fishing expedition. Sandland’s watercolor and ink illustrations highlight the different temperaments of the friends (a grumpy Kalla, suffering the effects of Ukaliq’s boisterousness, is priceless) and bring life to the icy northern landscape. In the end it is unclear if Ukaliq has learned anything from the experience, and in fact he seems oblivious to Kalla’s impact on the ultimate success of the outing. This lack of a clear moral seems true to life, if a bit unsatisfying. Apart from this, the text assumes readers have a base knowledge of regional or Inuit terms such as “jerry can” and “qamutiik,” which can inhibit the understanding of outside readers even with context clues in the illustrations.

Ultimately more about highlighting the culture of Nunavut than learning any life lessons, but it’s still a cute story suitable for sharing . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77227-135-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among


Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 45

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?