Takes tree-hugging—and standing up for yourself—to a new level.

TREES MAKE PERFECT PETS

When a young girl chooses a tree as a pet, she won’t be dissuaded or discouraged by people’s comments.

And there are many, starting with her family members when Abigail makes her wish for a pet tree known before blowing out her seven birthday candles. But she neutralizes them all with clever counterarguments. At a nursery, Abigail chooses “Fido,” a dogwood in a gray pot, and the two are inseparable. Socks adorn the tree’s branches on laundry day, and during a tea party, she reads aloud to her stuffed animals, one of them perched in Fido’s crook. Abigail even takes Fido on long walks (in a wagon), which garners them more looks and comments and questions. Unflappable Abigail fields them all. But what she can’t counter is the fact that Fido is growing, shown gradually in Gendron’s detailed illustrations. The only thing to do is plant Fido in the yard, but Abigail can’t leave her best friend…until, after a night spent in his branches, she realizes that Fido won’t be lonely with all the new friends he’s made outdoors. It’s refreshing to see a child stand up for her choice in positive ways, especially since most readers are likely to think that choice an odd one. Abigail and her family have light brown skin; the few other humans are diverse.

Takes tree-hugging—and standing up for yourself—to a new level. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6473-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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