With modern children learning an elder’s wisdom, this makes for a lovely day out

A DAY WITH YAYAH

A current-day Interior Salish girl named Nikki and her two friends spend a day with Yayah, Nikki’s grandmother, learning about edible plants.

Nikki and Yayah are tanning a deer hide when they notice a rainbow blooming across the sky. When neighbors Jamesie Pookins and Lenny join them, Yayah asks if the children know which edible plants are ready to be gathered in the spring. They have many answers: wild rhubarb, wild celery, lightning mushrooms, and more. Even though they admit they don’t like how mushrooms taste, they want to help Yayah gather. Soon, everyone climbs into Auntie Karen’s minivan, and they leave to hunt for plants. As they do, Yayah teaches them which plants are safe to eat and which are not, all the while also teaching them the Nle?kepmxcín words for each plant, too. The dialogue naturally folds helpful pronunciation cues for several of the words into the text, and all words are printed with phonetic pronunciations in the closing glossary. Campbell’s (Interior Salish/Métis) quiet story weaves botanical facts with respect for the natural world, naming the plants in the Nle?kepmxcín language. Flett’s (Cree/Métis) colorful, calming illustrations blend very well with the tone of the text, often gracefully incorporating the pulled-out Nle?kepmxcín in display type. The flowers pop against the dark green grass, the relative smallness of the human figures in the landscape emphasizing their relationship with nature.

With modern children learning an elder’s wisdom, this makes for a lovely day out . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-56656-041-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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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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