A sweet book for budding musicians.

YOU CAN DO IT, NOISY NORA!

After hearing the beautiful notes of “Clair de lune” float down from her violinist neighbor’s window, little mouse Nora dreams of learning to play the violin herself.

With all the enthusiasm and determination a young child can muster, Nora takes her family to the music store, where they all suggest different instruments for her. Maybe a xylophone? Banjo? Anything but a “screeching violin!” opines big sister Kate. But Nora is dead set on a violin, so her excitement is palpable when her music teacher, Mrs. Yamamoto, shows up for her first lesson. As expected, there are a lot of twangs, shrieks, and whines to be heard before a tune begins to be found. But Nora has a goal in mind, so she keeps at it to meet her Sept. 1 deadline and surprise her family. The theme of practice and hard work paying off in the end, coupled with the support of a loving family (albeit with slightly annoyed siblings), makes this a lovely read with kids. With one significant and uncharacteristic hiccup, the rhyming text flows easily and in exactly the same pattern as Noisy Nora’s eponymous debut (1973), making it a solid read-aloud. It is full of bright, cheery, and funny illustrations in Wells’ familiar style, but her decision to dress Mrs. Yamamoto in a kimono has the unfortunate effect of exoticizing her in this otherwise Western setting.

A sweet book for budding musicians. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-99923-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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