A powerful conservation message.

LAST

THE STORY OF A WHITE RHINO

Is the male white rhinoceros at the zoo the only one of his kind left?

The text is sparse and thoughtful. The artwork combines sophisticated collage—including words from many languages inscribed on buildings and animals—with a distinctive drawing style that breathes life equally into humans and animals, automobiles and elevated trains, gritty urban settings and vividly flowered meadows. The first double-page spread has a beige-and-gray palette that sets a somber mood. A young person of color—who reappears later—is gazing toward the protagonist’s large, foregrounded head. A gray city lies behind this figure. The only words: “I am the last.” The next spread continues the bleakness with an aerial view of the zoo and its surrounds. The text continues with the rhino’s sad musing. The pages that follow are a bright and joyous contrast, as readers see the rhinoceros recalling his native land. No one could fail to be moved by baby rhinos cavorting in flamingo-filled waters or by the protagonist gazing adoringly at his mama, who smells “beautiful.” The mother’s death from a horn poacher’s bullet is subtly portrayed but obvious enough to elicit questions from young readers. More “lasts” at the zoo create further pathos. The rhino’s eventual, final relocation will dispel some of the tale’s grimness for little ones; older readers will feel less optimistic when they read the endnotes about a real rhino named Sudan. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.25-by-18.5-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74% of actual size.)

A powerful conservation message. (note on art) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-910328-64-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiny Owl

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 40

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Informative, empowering, and fun.

ROX'S SECRET CODE

Girl power abounds in this book about coding that introduces young readers to the world of programming while offering them hands-on activities via a companion app.

In this title that was first introduced as a customizable, personalized print-on-demand product, Rox has a superpower. Using code, she programs toy robots that can do things like make broccoli disappear—or mischief. When Dad tells Rox to clean her room, she quickly thinks up a bot that will do it for her, writing code that instructs her bot to use artificial intelligence to sort objects by color and type. Though Rox knows that there’s a high potential for her creation to rebel, the perks outweigh any potential adverse effects. Rox’s robot has her room neat and tidy in no time—and then the entire home. Chorebot’s AI allows it to keep learning, and it seems Chorebot can do no wrong until the robot decides to rearrange the entire city (both buildings and people) by type, style, and gender. Chorebot goes “out of his artificial mind!” Rox must now stop her creation…without the assistance of the internet. The artwork, styled in the tradition of popular superhero series, is peppy and colorful, and it depicts Rox as an adorable black girl donning a black bomber jacket and a pink tutu. A companion app (not available for review) allows readers to create a bot of their own.

Informative, empowering, and fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-899-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more