Highly—and proudly—recommended.

PRIDE PUPPY!

LGBTQIA + ABC + dog = fun!

This queer-centric alphabet book follows a young light-brown–skinned protagonist of ambiguous gender, their moms (an interracial couple), baby sibling, and rambunctious dog as they get ready to head off to a Pride parade. Disaster looms, however, when a tumble leads to a loose dog and a chase through the parade to reunite the four-legged member of the family with its bipedal owners. Each page introduces the next letter of the alphabet, advancing the story and along the way offering a plethora of vocabulary words (sometimes in print, sometimes in illustrations—a concluding search-and-find word list will send readers back through the book). While the story is sweet, the illustrations are the real stars of the show, depicting realistic characters and a crowd that is diverse in age, skin tone, racial presentation, size and shape, ability, and body modification. The cartoon illustrations are highly detailed, which may make the book challenging for large-group storytimes, but it will keep lap-readers invested as they pore over the characters, designs, and background actions. The only thing missing is a flag identification guide to help caregivers identify the variety of identities found and supported within the book. That quibble aside, the book is sheer delight and will be a welcome addition to shelves everywhere.

Highly—and proudly—recommended. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2484-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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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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