Congratulatory cheerleading and wise whimsy to celebrate accomplishments of all sorts.


From the Cosmic Adventures of Astrid and Stella (a Hello!Lucky Book) series

Go ahead. Judge this book by the cover.

On a softly psychedelic background, a cartoon-style tiger greets readers with a wonderfully cheesy smile that is every orthodontist’s dream. A sticker reads: “The PERFECT gift for every milestone!” In text uniformly presented in the second person, each spread inside gives readers a boost. “Because you’re / FIERCE. / A rising star! / You’ve earned your stripes. / You’ve come so far! / No matter who you choose / to be, you’ll be / TERR-IFIC. / Wait and see!” (Even though the text is in verse, it’s not always laid out accordingly.) Readers are encouraged to “find your place” and to “do your part” but also to “be humble,” to “land on your paws” in times of trouble, to help new friends, and to “use your strength to shine a light / on what is wrong and what is RIGHT.” A white tiger with multicolored stripes encourages further growth: “To your spirit you’ll stay true, never sorry to be you. / But CHANGE YOUR STRIPES / if they don’t suit you. / Dare to swap them—we’ll salute you.” Most spreads contain a complete four-line rhythmic and rhyming stanza in second person. A variety of other animals join the tiger in its shining moment. The book’s open commercial appeal doesn’t mask its effectiveness.

Congratulatory cheerleading and wise whimsy to celebrate accomplishments of all sorts. (Picture book. 4-8, all ages)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3964-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 36

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet