A lively story with a positive message—but not a true champion of inclusion.

READ REVIEW

KID COACH

Kid Coach and Dad learn the meaning of true championship in this debut picture book.

Young Kid Coach trains his skinny, couch-potato dad for the ultimate competition “in the grandest arena of them all—Wrestle-Rumble Mania Kingdom Tournament of Champions.” Dad throws down against a series of flamboyant, muscled “guys”—big, bad, and bald. Each time, Dad wins with his inescapable “Tater Tangler,” but during all his training, Kid Coach forgot to teach Dad how a victor treats fellow competitors. Dad dances too long and refuses to shake hands. Large, flashy illustrations capture the playful energy of the narration and lend to sharing the book with a storytime audience. Repetition also increases the read-aloud appeal. Mixing it with potato humor, Justus presents a valuable lesson about integrity and kindness. The wrestlers don’t care about the gifts or high-fives Dad offers to make up for his behavior until he gives a sincere apology. Unfortunately, the book lacks diversity. Both Kid Coach and Dad are white, and white (or, oddly, purple or pink) characters outnumber the two people of color depicted in the illustrations. One of them is black, and the other wears a Mexican lucha libre mask. Additionally, the text refers to all the wrestlers as “guys” and the competition as a “Kingdom,” so there are presumably no other genders represented in the story.

A lively story with a positive message—but not a true champion of inclusion. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62414-886-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A rite of passage seen through the lens of a favorite literary pal.

LLAMA LLAMA LOOSE TOOTH DRAMA

From the Llama Llama series

Llama Llama loses a tooth for the first time.

All of the wiggling can make having a loose tooth fun, but there can be some worry, too. How will it fall out? There is a tooth fairy? What does she do? Llama Llama is distressed. “Is it fun? / Or is it scary? / Just who, exactly, / IS this Fairy?” Luckily, Mama is there to help. “The Fairy’s great. She’s kind and funny. / She takes your tooth / and leaves you money.” Llama Llama is on board with that! Appropriately, exactly how much money is never specified, but the tiny llama fairy is shown carrying a bag stuffed with bills. Hopefully she has many houses to visit. Gram and Grandpa have lots of ideas on how to get the tooth to fall out, but Llama’s tooth stays put until bedtime. Suddenly, Llama realizes his tooth is gone: “OH NO. / Where is that tooth? / Where did it GO?” Will the tooth fairy come if the tooth is lost? The comforting cadence of the rhymes paired with warm, textured hues soften all the drama. As in the other posthumously published Llama Llama books, Morrow’s textured paintings emulate Dewdney’s definitively lined renderings. The fluttering llama fairy, along with Llama’s stuffed llama, whose wide eyes notice all, will delight eagle-eyed readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.3-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 41.8% of actual size.)

A rite of passage seen through the lens of a favorite literary pal. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-20603-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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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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