For fledgling readers, another appreciation of the natural world.

READ REVIEW

MY HAPPY YEAR BY E. BLUEBIRD

An Eastern bluebird recounts the first year of her life.

Again relying on his own backyard observations as well as credited experts, Meisel offers a follow-up to his much-admired My Awesome Summer, by P. Mantis (2017). This description of a bluebird’s life is straightforward in its content but versatile in its presentation. What might ordinarily be backmatter, appropriate for a relatively advanced reader, comes first: a spread offering a general description of the species illustrated with images of male and female birds and their foods, along with the map to show the range. The rest of the text is just right for beginners. Short, dated journal entries are set on appealing acrylic paintings of the birds and their surroundings. Working through the year from E. Bluebird’s birthday in June to the hatching of her own chicks the following summer, the author/illustrator describes important stages: a blind beginning, feeding and pooping in the nest, the first scary flight, the joy of flying, migration south and back up north, finding a mate, building a nest, and laying eggs of her own. Actual backmatter includes a short glossary and suggestions for further learning or doing. Less informative overall than Pamela F. Kirby’s photo essay What Bluebirds Do (2009), this is more accessible for beginners, with its simple vocabulary, short sentences, and first-person narrative. The pair would complement each other nicely on a nature shelf.

For fledgling readers, another appreciation of the natural world. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3837-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more