As (at 9) the youngest contender to date for an Academy Award best actress prize, Wallis narrates a story well worth reading...

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A NIGHT OUT WITH MAMA

Few brown girls (and even few brown women) have ever been able to tell a story like this.

Child star Wallis, best known for her debut acting role as the indomitable Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild and co-starring with Jamie Foxx in the 2014 version of the blockbuster musical Annie, recounts the glamourous night she and her mother spent at the Academy Awards ceremony. The African-American protagonist starts the day by waking up early and “tap, tap, tapping” around the house in her sparkly, new blue shoes, then waking up her siblings to make sure they share in her excitement. After the family enjoys a pancake breakfast, a stylist comes to give Quvenzhané a fabulous hairdo (about which her older brother teases her), and then her mother helps her don a new blue dress. An impressive limousine transports mother and daughter to the Academy Awards, and all goes well until Quvenzhané steps out of the car and falls, face first, onto the red carpet. Thinking of daddy helps her get over the embarrassment and move on to the main event. Expressively illustrated with Brantley-Newton’s characteristically upbeat illustrations, the book exudes positivity (“I don’t win, but Mama and I have ice cream sundaes just the same”) and excitement and tells a unique story.

As (at 9) the youngest contender to date for an Academy Award best actress prize, Wallis narrates a story well worth reading and sharing . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5880-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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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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