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

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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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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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