But still, because or no because, it’s a pleasure to see Jack learning to negotiate his way through the world, from longing...

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BECAUSE

Since Torrey’s wobbly, irresistible artwork tells the whole story, there is no reason to ask any explicit questions—such as, “Why is half the cake eaten?” or, “Why are you covered in Band-Aids?”—but young Jack always has the answer.

Following on the heels of Almost (2009) and Why? (2010), this book nods toward a survey of that classic response, so elegant in its singularity: “Because.” Most of the time, however, Jack has a perfectly good reason for doing what he is doing, with a “because” tacked on to the start of the response. Why is he sitting in the laundry basket with the dirty laundry flung all about? “Because it’s my spaceship,” which could just as easily have been “It’s my spaceship.” The whole pleasure of the simple “because”—that if the person asking doesn’t know the answer, well, then, really…go fish—has been undermined. “Because” serves here as prelude to the preposterous or comical. “Because you cheated,” Jack tells the dog that he has sent to the corner, a game of checkers left unfinished on the floor.

But still, because or no because, it’s a pleasure to see Jack learning to negotiate his way through the world, from longing questions to innocent answers that reveal far too much plain honesty. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-156173-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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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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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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