Unsparingly compassionate; an excellent addition to the collection of books about separation and divorce.

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WEEKEND DAD

A child's narration captures the confusion and sorrow that children of separated and divorced parents can feel.

Dad and mom have separated or perhaps even divorced, resulting in some life-altering changes. The redheaded child narrator has dad on the mind all week after Dad moves out on Monday. But on Friday night, it is time to say goodbye to Mom and visit Dad’s new apartment: “My dad says I have two homes now.” Accustomed to a home once shared with both parents (all three family members have pale skin), the child feels scared on the first night in dad’s apartment and wanders into his room to watch him sleep, wondering if even grown-ups get scared too. The story captures little moments that have big meaning—the tender kiss Mom gives the child when leaving to stay with Dad for the first time; Dad’s wide eyes as he picks up his kid at what used to be his own home; the child leaving a favorite stuffed animal with Dad so that he won’t feel alone; and a poignant letter the father leaves with the child, an abridged version of one the author’s own father once wrote to her. With characteristically stylized, offbeat visuals, Viva’s illustrations capture the abundant emotional subtext with simple but effective lines.

Unsparingly compassionate; an excellent addition to the collection of books about separation and divorce. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77306-108-5

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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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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