An appealing model of preteen activism. .

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FOLLOW THE MOON HOME

A TALE OF ONE IDEA, TWENTY KIDS, AND A HUNDRED SEA TURTLES

A “lights out for loggerheads” campaign becomes a satisfying community-action project for Vivienne and her summer school classmates.

Environmental advocate Cousteau and acclaimed author Hopkinson team up to encourage young activists. New in her South Carolina town, Vivienne is drawn into the community through a summer school assignment. Challenged by their teacher, she and classmate Clementine discover a problem: lighting in beach houses disorients hatchling loggerhead turtles. As a group, the students research the issue, publicize it, enlist adult help, and suggest solutions. A community meeting is the culmination—until the magical night they watch hatchings find their ways from their nests in the sand to the ocean by the moonlight on the water. Gorgeously illustrated with watercolor and colored ink and pencils, this is a beautiful package. So’s paintings of both the natural and diverse human world add atmosphere, characterization, and informative depth. Vivienne’s early shyness is evident in her body language; Clementine is chunky (Clementine is blonde and white, while Vivienne has dark hair and slightly darker skin). Details include steps for a community-action project and examples of the students’ research, campaign publicity, and fundraising. Important information about loggerheads is woven into this story and its backmatter, but their use of light cues is oversimplified, and the creators (all from west coasts) have misplaced their setting crescent moon.

An appealing model of preteen activism. . (authors’ notes, further info, resources) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1241-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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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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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

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