Ably demonstrates to young readers the value of doing a difficult but important job.

TANNA'S OWL

When Tanna’s father brings a lone baby owl to their home, Tanna discovers how much work it is to care for it.

One summer, Father returns from a hunting trip with an abandoned baby owl that needs care. Even though “it’s somehow cute,” Tanna is not impressed, particularly when she has to get up before dawn to catch lemmings for the owl to eat. Inside the house Tanna also has to line the floor with newspapers because Ukpik, as she names the owl, poops often. As time goes by, Ukpik demands more and more food, and Tanna and her siblings grow tired of catching lemmings as it grows and loses its cuteness. When summer ends, Tanna has to go away to school, and although she worries about the unfledged owlet, she is “happy not to get up at 4:00 a.m.” When she returns home the following summer, Tanna is in for a big surprise. The heartwarming text is based on Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley’s (Inuit-Cree) own childhood experiences, according to an opening note, including a stint in residential schools that is mentioned only glancingly in the story. (Sean Qitsuallik-Tinsley is of Scottish-Mohawk descent.) The backmatter gives readers more information about the authors and includes Inuktitut pronunciation guidance. Kang’s use of a soft, muted palette pairs well with the text to make the story come alive for readers.

Ably demonstrates to young readers the value of doing a difficult but important job. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77227-250-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

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Hee haw.

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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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Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.

DOUBLE PUPPY TROUBLE

From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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