Distress gives way to relief in this you-are-there tale for young readers and listeners who enjoy real-life animal...

DOLPHIN SOS

A dramatic dolphin rescue tale told by a young eyewitness named Nicole.

When three dolphins are trapped in a cove by sheets of ice blown in by a winter storm, five brave young men, including the narrator’s brother Aaron, come to their aid. Based on an actual incident in Newfoundland in 2009, this life-and-death story will resonate with readers as much as it did with the western Canadian writers and illustrator who gave it a new life. To Nicole and others in her small coastal town, the cries of the trapped dolphins sound like an SOS, a call for help, but officials can’t help. No icebreaker is available. It’s up to a group of sympathetic townspeople to save the animals’ lives. Wearing survival suits and using a small boat in an operation that takes over five hours, they are successful. Nicole’s storytelling is straightforward. The spare text is set in a sea of whites and grays, a stark reminder of this moving rescue’s chilly setting. Flett’s equally spare illustrations show stylized figures. Spots of color break up the black-and-white patterns in these digitally combined collages. Notes about white-beaked dolphins and the actual incident are appended.

Distress gives way to relief in this you-are-there tale for young readers and listeners who enjoy real-life animal encounters. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-896580-76-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tradewind Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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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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A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound.

HOW TO CATCH A GINGERBREAD MAN

From the How To Catch… series

The titular cookie runs off the page at a bookstore storytime, pursued by young listeners and literary characters.

Following on 13 previous How To Catch… escapades, Wallace supplies sometimes-tortured doggerel and Elkerton, a set of helter-skelter cartoon scenes. Here the insouciant narrator scampers through aisles, avoiding a series of elaborate snares set by the racially diverse young storytime audience with help from some classic figures: “Alice and her mad-hat friends, / as a gift for my unbirthday, / helped guide me through the walls of shelves— / now I’m bound to find my way.” The literary helpers don’t look like their conventional or Disney counterparts in the illustrations, but all are clearly identified by at least a broad hint or visual cue, like the unnamed “wizard” who swoops in on a broom to knock over a tower labeled “Frogwarts.” Along with playing a bit fast and loose with details (“Perhaps the boy with the magic beans / saved me with his cow…”) the author discards his original’s lip-smacking climax to have the errant snack circling back at last to his book for a comfier sort of happily-ever-after.

A brisk if bland offering for series fans, but cleverer metafictive romps abound. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-0935-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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