A soothing, comforting lunar lullaby calibrated for bedtime sharing.

READ REVIEW

MOON WISHES

The moon’s beneficent presence prompts reassuring aspirations.

As if chanting a lyrical mantra, the unnamed narrator introduces a series of wishes with the repeated phrase, “If I were the moon.” As the moon, the narrator envisions painting “ripples of light on wet canvas,” “shimmer[ing] over dreams of snow,” “wax[ing] and wan[ing] over the Earth’s troubles,” and bringing “peaceful sleep for worried hearts.” The language is flowing and soporific, the repetition of “moon” slow and soothing. Finally, as the moon, the narrator would “become big and bright” with love to shine on readers. Loose, vibrant illustrations done in mixed media, including drawing inks and colored pencils, provide visual grounding for the abstract text. Using broad, fluid brush strokes, Pavlovic loosely spreads luminous washes of color to create moonstruck nocturnal scenes. The moon appears somewhere in each double-page spread, smiling and shining on fish and whales in the sea, polar bears on ice, burdened humans crossing a landscape, city cats afoot, wolves howling, and so forth. Animals depicted are slightly anthropomorphized, often smiling back at the moon. The moon’s influence can perhaps most strikingly be seen in a picture of a long line of displaced people trudging sadly along, but one babe on mother’s back is smiling in their sleep.

A soothing, comforting lunar lullaby calibrated for bedtime sharing. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-076-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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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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A slim, feel-good story, as light and airy as the rainbows that grace its pages.

NOT QUITE NARWHAL

Being true to yourself means embracing differences and striding (or paddling) fearlessly into the world.

Emerging from a giant clam, baby unicorn Kelp lives among narwhals, believing he’s just not as good as everyone else at swimming, appreciating a squid dinner, or breathing underwater (he sports a glass diving helmet—with a gasket-encircled hole for his horn). Swept close to shore one day, he spies for the first time an adult unicorn and, struck by the resemblance to himself, totters onto solid ground. The “land narwhals” explain to him that they—and he—are unicorns. Kelp’s blissful new life of learning to do special unicorn things amid sparkles and rainbows is punctuated by sadness over the narwhal friends he left behind. Upon returning to his watery home, Kelp learns that the narwhals knew all along that he was actually a unicorn. Following a brief internal tussle over where he truly belongs, Kelp recognizes that he doesn’t have to be just one thing or another and happily unites his friends at the shoreline. As seen in Sima’s soft, digital illustrations, Kelp is adorable, and she evokes both undersea and aboveground environments artfully. The message is an appealing one that could speak to many family situations relating to multiple identities, but the central dilemma is resolved so quickly and easily that there is little room for emotional engagement.

A slim, feel-good story, as light and airy as the rainbows that grace its pages. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6909-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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