A strong if whimsical choice for those separated from loved ones.

READ REVIEW

PENGUIN AND PINECONE

A FRIENDSHIP STORY

A tale of friendship that grows even through a separation.

A little penguin with an orange scarf opens his heart to a shivering little pinecone. With care and concern, Penguin immediately knits a scarf for his new friend. Whooshing and whee-ing the day together cements their love for each other. But Grandpa says that Pinecone belongs in the forest far away because it is too cold here. Showing continued concern for his companion, Penguin packs his sled for a long journey. Wanting only what is best for Pinecone, the little bird leaves him in a love-filled nest in the forest and returns to his winter home. With the passage of time, Penguin has grown big and strong but has not forgotten his forest friend. Has Pinecone grown big and strong, too? She (he?) sure has. With crisp illustrations that capture a genuinely loving heart, this story addresses the issue of missing a best friend. The illustrations are well balanced with the text, using a simple color palette while still showing the emotions of both the bird and his unusual friend (no simple task).

A strong if whimsical choice for those separated from loved ones. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2843-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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