Mommy rules! Delightful.

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MAX AND THE SUPERHEROES

A little boy’s obsession with his favorite superhero turns out to be not an obsession at all in this Spanish import.

“Max is crazy about superheroes.” He loves to dress like one, and he reads every comic book he can get his hands on. All superheroes are awesome, but Max’s absolute favorite is Megapower. She wears a short blue dress with a gold lightning bolt on it as well as a long red cape, red cowl, and red boots. Some of his friends are skeptical about a female superhero, but Max knows that Megapower can deactivate bombs, program computers, and “control a million robots at once.” She’s superintelligent and incredibly strong, and she has “amazing ultravision.” Max knows all this because he knows Megapower. She takes him to fabulous places and displays her superpowers all over the house. Best of all is “when she puts on her Mommy costume and gives Max a kiss good night.” Cleverly, Bonilla and Malet reveal Max’s superhero secret rather than explicitly stating it. The story enumerates Megapower’s skills twice, once with illustrations of conventional fantastic feats (like hoisting a train) and once around the house (like rescuing a cat), still in costume. The illustrations blend a loose line-and-watercolor style for Max and his world with the closely modeled look of a comic book, a contrast that’s especially effective in Megapower’s scenes at home. The cast appears to be an all-white one.

Mommy rules! Delightful. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-844-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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 fascinating, splendidly executed peek into both the mundane and the dramatic aspects of lighthouse life.

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HELLO LIGHTHOUSE

This tribute to lighthouses of an earlier era focuses on one lighthouse and its dedicated keeper.

Perched “on the highest rock of a tiny island / at the edge of the world,” the lighthouse shines for seafaring ships. A new keeper arrives, continuing the endless routine of polishing the lens, refilling the oil, trimming the wick, winding the clockwork, painting the round rooms, fishing, making tea, sending letters to his wife (in bottles), and writing daily in his logbook. One day, a ship delivering supplies brings the keeper’s wife! The keeper rings a warning bell in fog, rescues wrecked sailors, and logs his baby’s birth. When he’s ill, his stalwart wife tends the light and maintains the logbook. Eventually, a mechanical light replaces the keeper. While the spare, unemotional text resembles a keeper’s log, the book’s vertical orientation echoes a lighthouse tower. Rendered in Chinese ink and watercolor, precise, detailed illustrations present the lighthouse surrounded by patterned blue, green, or gray waves depending on the weather or season, reinforcing its solitary enterprise. A cutaway interior view exposes a compact, contained world. Close-ups of the keeper and his wife (both white) in porthole-shaped frames and from unusual aerial views emphasize their isolated, intimate, circular environment. An “About Lighthouses” section adds insightful detail.

A fascinating, splendidly executed peek into both the mundane and the dramatic aspects of lighthouse life. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-36238-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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