Gorgeous and vaguely inspirational, this French import is slightly tricky to read but satisfying to pore over.

READ REVIEW

FEATHER

French artist Courgeon crafts a story about housework, boxing, and girl power in this picture book translated into English by Bedrick.

Paulina, a motherless girl from a working-class Russian-immigrant family, arm-wrestles her three loving but selfish older brothers over who has to do the chores. Nicknamed “Feather,” she usually loses, and the endless laundry cuts into her beloved piano practice. One day she takes up boxing lessons, “And the more she trained, the more she beat her brothers.” But boxing turns her fingers “red and swollen,” which also keeps her from her instrument. Her first triumph in the ring transforms her family into one with a more feminist distribution of housework, “and the melodious sounds of the piano filled their apartment once more.” The narrative moves in fits and jerks, making for a somewhat clumsy read-aloud, and the brief listing of Paulina’s feminist icons feels shoehorned in. The illustrations shine, however, with gorgeous, intricate scenes of Paulina’s home life and training, thoughtful portraits of each character, and little treats such as boxing gloves arranged in a heart. It may be a bit lackluster in the message, but on the whole it’s a beautiful and unusual tale of family and strength.

Gorgeous and vaguely inspirational, this French import is slightly tricky to read but satisfying to pore over. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59270-210-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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The tips garnered here could be used to scare just about anyone, and for those scared of ghosts, at least your carpets will...

HOW TO SCARE A GHOST

From the How To... series

Reagan and Wildish continue their How to… series with this Halloween-themed title.

If you’ve ever had a hankering to scare a ghost, this handbook is what you need. In it, a pair of siblings shows readers “how to attract a ghost” (they like creepily carved pumpkins and glitter), identify a ghost (real ghosts “never, ever open doors”), and scare a ghost (making faces, telling scary stories). Also included is a warning not to go too far—a vacuum is over-the-top on the scary chart for ghosts. Once you’ve calmed your ghost again, it’s time to play (just not hide-and-seek or on a trampoline) and then decide on costumes for trick-or-treating. Your ghost will also need to learn Halloween etiquette (knocking instead of floating through doors). The title seems a little misleading considering only two spreads are dedicated to trying to scare a ghost, but the package as a whole is entertaining. Wildish’s digital cartoon illustrations are as bright as ever, and the brother and sister duo have especially expressive faces. Both are white-presenting, as are all the other characters except for some kids in the very last spread.

The tips garnered here could be used to scare just about anyone, and for those scared of ghosts, at least your carpets will be clean from all the vacuuming. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-0190-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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