This lighthearted take on youthful determination and the value of continued effort successfully avoids undue complexity,...

READ REVIEW

MOE IS BEST

From the I Like To Read series

Veteran Torrey joins the stable of author-illustrators contributing to the I Like to Read picture-book series, crafting a family tale of persistence and confidence that serves as a timely lesson in a text explicitly aimed at the youngest budding readers.

This series dares to make entertaining reads from short texts and familiar vocabulary. Repetitions of “Moe can...” are offset by contrasting images of a “little” monkey brother attempting to accomplish tasks better suited to his older siblings. Torrey takes adult caregivers on a reminiscent journey through the familiar chores and lores of home life as a kid even as he transports child readers from the bathroom sink to the outdoor basketball court. The older, playful siblings chide Moe’s overconfidence (“I am the best,” he says over and over) yet comfort him after countless missed baskets, helping him to realize he is the best at something: “trying.” The artwork lends as much simplicity as the language, stepping away from elaborate detail for a simple, streamlined palette digitally filled from the author’s illustration board. What readers are left with is a short anecdote of familial competition that delivers a quick but salient message.

This lighthearted take on youthful determination and the value of continued effort successfully avoids undue complexity, allowing both message and story to reach their emergent-reader audience. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2837-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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