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



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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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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Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment.


From the Pig the Pug series

People who live in popular spots always complain when human tourists invade, but when the visitor is an unruly dog like Pig the pug, the situation gets even worse.

The big-eyed, ill-behaved pug runs roughshod over everyone: his owner, a brown-skinned woman who remains faceless; Trevor, his owner’s other dog, a big-eyed dachshund (every human and animal has large eyes in Blabey’s amusing illustrations); and all the other people, animals, works of art, and architectural marvels encountered in Pig’s world travels. Pig disrupts a Japanese geisha’s lunch; he angers some scantily clad Caribbean carnival dancers; he breaks the head off the Sphinx in Egypt; and he disturbs the queen’s tea and menaces her prize corgis, prompting the headline: “CHAOS AT THE PALACE: Queen shaken, not stirred.” (Young readers will likely be unmoved by this joke.) Yes, the rhyming text is occasionally clever and the pictures are full of action, but there is nothing original in this skewed presentation of a few of the world’s best-known, stereotypically presented tourist sites. Although Pig does get a well-deserved punishment for his rude behavior (piranhas attack when he least expects it), he still manages to get the last word when he stinks up first class with a very explicitly visual fart. The moral of the story? Leave Pig in the kennel when you travel.

Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-59339-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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