Children may not recognize themselves herein, but their caregivers will see their little monkeys.

READ REVIEW

THREE LITTLE MONKEYS

Hilda Snibbs cares for Tim, Sam, and Lulu, three lively monkeys.

One morning the well-turned-out white woman leaves her elegant home to buy bananas. The simian siblings grow bored, so they look in the hall closet for something to play with, and they find umbrellas, shoes and boots, and fancy hats. “When Hilda came home she found the most dreadful mess.” She tells them how disappointed she is; they just stare with their big, round eyes. When she goes to buy a hat the next day, the living room is the scene of the next mess. There is a shopping trip for wool the following day, and the kitchen falls prey. The next day, it’s the bathroom. Hilda warns them sternly before she leaves to visit her sick mother. She returns to a clean house. Oh no! Where can the monkeys be? Weeping, Hilda goes to the closet for a dry hanky—and finds her charges. That night she finds her bed full of silverware and tinned sardines. “But that is the sort of thing you have to expect if you have three little monkeys.” British illustrator Blake here supplies the words for Chichester Clark, his former student at the Royal College of Art. The duo’s first outing together is a charming story of patient devotion. Chichester Clark’s bright and lively mixed-media illustrations are full of patterns, detail, and adorable, mischievous monkeys.

Children may not recognize themselves herein, but their caregivers will see their little monkeys. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-267067-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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 pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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