Exuberant pictures express parental love, which makes species, gender, size, biology, and even the bars of an enclosure...

THE TIGER'S EGG

A morose tiger, frustrated by life in an enclosure, finds renewed purpose when a turquoise egg falls into his care.

Herman, the tiger, takes to paternity quickly, “very carefully…wrapp[ing] his soft, furry tail around the egg.” Hunched and focused, he weaves a nest from straw and “the softest hairs from his chest.” Children will giggle at the hulking tiger’s loving, ludicrous posture as he stands on two feet, willing dexterity into his cumbersome paws and claws, bent in concentration. Matte watercolors (buttercup yellows, teal greens, and fuchsia reds) delight as well, making joyous striations as branches, bark, water, ground, leaves, fur. Vivid, multidirectional, and abundant, the cheerful clash of colors captures the teeming life and sound inside the animal enclosure. Creatures peer, gawk, and interject throughout, making readers aware of the inescapable closeness of captivity. In the background of one spread, a pale caretaker cleans up a pile of animal bones using a broom and wheelbarrow—a small, grim reminder that sadness and death live here too. Young life and adoptive love, thankfully, cast a golden light across the pages of this endearing book from the moment the egg cracks. The hatchling emerges (a yellow-and-black pompom with enormous black eyes on two long stick legs), and Herman sees his “little tiger bird.” Soon, the baby bird learns to roar.

Exuberant pictures express parental love, which makes species, gender, size, biology, and even the bars of an enclosure irrelevant. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4319-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Sweet, good-hearted fun.

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THE SOUR GRAPE

From the Food Group series

A recovering curmudgeon narrates life lessons in the latest entry in the punny Food Group series.

Grape wasn’t always sour, as they explain in this origin story. Grape’s arc starts with an idyllic childhood within “a close-knit bunch” in a community of “about three thousand.” The sweet-to-sour switch begins when Grape plans an elaborate birthday party to which no one shows up. Going from “sweet” to “bitter,” “snappy,” and, finally, “sour,” Grape “scowled so much that my face got all squishy.” Minor grudges become major. An aha moment occurs when a run of bad luck makes Grape three hours late for a meetup with best friend Lenny, who’s just as acidic as Grape. After the irate lemon storms off, Grape recognizes their own behavior in Lenny. Alone, Grape begins to enjoy the charms of a lovely evening. Once home, the fruit browses through a box of memorabilia, discovering that the old birthday party invitation provided the wrong date! “I realized nobody’s perfect. Not even me.” Remaining pages reverse the downturn as Grape observes that minor setbacks are easily weathered when the emphasis is on talking, listening, and working things out. Oswald’s signature illustrations depict Grape and company with big eyes and tiny limbs. The best sight gag occurs early: Grape’s grandparents are depicted as elegant raisins. The lessons are as valuable as in previous outings, and kids won’t mind the slight preachiness. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, good-hearted fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-304541-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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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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