An appealing picture book distinguished by its colorful images, creatively distilled meteorological facts, and simple but...

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KOBEE MANATEE

A WILD WEATHER ADVENTURE

A manatee and his friends swim across the Gulf Stream and brave a hurricane on their way to the Bahamas in this colorful adventure for young readers.

In his second engaging children’s picture book, Thayer (Kobee Manatee: Heading Home to Florida, 2013) expertly weaves in true-life weather facts with a simple but eventful tale. A resourceful manatee named Kobee sets out on a 300-mile swim from Key West, Florida, to Nassau with his friends, a hermit crab named Pablo and a purple, pink-maned sea horse called Tess. There, Kobee plans to surprise his sister, Kim, on her birthday. But before the travelers reach the festive celebration, amid the multicolored coral reefs of the Bahamas’ warm waters, they face some suspenseful challenges. First, there’s a scary waterspout and a thunderstorm at sea: “Two lightning bolts shot right past us. The sky rumbled and roared.” A spinning hurricane follows: “The east winds swirled….I went for air just as a GIANT wave spun us around like a washing machine.” Throughout the adventure, Kobee is both a navigator and educator; additional facts and figures, boxed and labeled “Kobee’s Fun Facts,” supplement the manatee’s explanations of the weather phenomena that the trio encounter. The book also tells its young audience, in text that doesn’t talk down to them, how to protect themselves in a thunderstorm, how storms rotate depending on the hemisphere they occupy, and how to identify different types of clouds: “white, wispy” cirrus, “creamy cotton” cumulus, and cirrocumulus resembling “fish scales.” Readers also learn of the two types of waterspouts (tornadic and fair weather), why the sky is blue, the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius, and that “a raindrop falls at an average speed of 17 miles per hour.” Despite the book’s encyclopedic quality, however, it’s a charming, simple story. The illustrations, rendered in colorful acrylic on illustration board, harmonize nicely with the active text, mixing real-world and fantasy elements in lavish sky and ocean settings.

An appealing picture book distinguished by its colorful images, creatively distilled meteorological facts, and simple but dynamic storytelling.

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0988326941

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thompson Mill Press

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2015

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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