Prescribed answers to contrived questions are more likely to stifle imagination than to inspire it.

READ REVIEW

WHAT IF…? THEN WE…

SHORT, VERY SHORT, SHORTER-THAN-EVER POSSIBILITIES

Two polar bears and an octopus imagine their way through an Arctic landscape.

“For every WHAT IF, the imagination creates a possibility,” begins this unusual book, “and in that possibility lives a story.” Two polar bears, one with a red-and-blue–striped hat and the other with a walking stick and backpack, rush across an icy isthmus. In the background, a friendly-looking green octopus greets some seals. The two polar bears illustrate each “what if” scenario, looking quizzical or calm, distressed or happy, the octopus a frequent presence in the background. Some of the imagined scenarios make sense or are otherwise evocative for children, such as “What if…the clocks stopped ticktocking? / Then we would have no bedtime.” Others are a bit more puzzling. The conclusion to “What if we shared something amazing and magnificent and wonderful?” is “Then we would keep it our secret, and treasure it every day,” for some reason. And the response to “What if something really big and really scary happened?” is “Then we would whistle and hold hands until… / …it wasn’t as big or as scary,” which may not appropriately address the realities of some children’s lives. The mixed-media illustrations are cute but not particularly enchanting, which largely sums up this inventive but flat story.

Prescribed answers to contrived questions are more likely to stifle imagination than to inspire it. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62979-909-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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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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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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