This introduction to LGBTQ human rights for young children is a gentle and effective one.

GHOST'S JOURNEY

A REFUGEE STORY

The immigration story of Eka and Rainer, a gay Indonesian couple, centers on their cat, Ghost.

Ghost the white cat lives a seemingly idyllic life with her two dads on the island of Java. But because Eka and Rainer “love each other,” they are persecuted by law enforcement and must constantly move in order to stay safe, sometimes fleeing suddenly from immediate danger, much to Ghost’s distress. Her feelings of vulnerability will be easy for children to understand and sympathize with. The couple applies to immigrate to Canada, and after months of waiting, the three fly to a new home and new life. Stevenson tells the real-life story of Eka Nasution and Rainer Oktovianus with simplicity and clarity for younger audiences, and the author’s note gives extended detail on the couple’s immigration, their application for refugee status on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity persecution, and the Canadian organizations that aided this process. Photoshopped illustrations of Oktovianus’ photographs showcase the family, their journey, and their adjustment to their new environment. Both the primary text and the author’s note are written in accessible language, and centering Ghost creates appeal for young readers, who can easily identify with her family’s longing to live their true lives.

This introduction to LGBTQ human rights for young children is a gentle and effective one. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77530-194-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Rebel Mountain Press

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Chilling in the best ways.

CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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Hee haw.

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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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