It’s difficult to imagine a child enjoying this treacly memento, whatever their age; even parents-to-be may be turned off.

READ REVIEW

WISHES FOR LITTLE ONE

A baby-shower gift book for attendees to fill with wishes for the new arrival.

Magsamen’s latest is difficult to pin down. Only the final two spreads are meant for the enscribed wishes, so the rest is a picture book, per se, although a saccharine one seemingly directed at babies but meant for grown-ups. “We’ve gathered to shower you with love my dear… // and we made a book of wishes for you to hear! // We are your family, your friends and your neighbors too… // we are so excited to welcome you!” These verses are punctuated with Magsamen’s characteristic illustrations of stylized animals and simple shapes (stars, hearts, the sun) outlined in dashed-line “stitches.” The visual prominence of the animals can make it difficult at first for readers or listeners to realize that they aren’t the “we” used in the text. And once the book reaches the blank two pages for personalized sentiments (“So, as you read these wishes written just for you, / please remember that wishes really do come true!”), one can only assume that the writing style will change from the bouncy rhymes to plain text written for the parents and not the child, and their attention will likely be lost.

It’s difficult to imagine a child enjoying this treacly memento, whatever their age; even parents-to-be may be turned off. (Gift book. 0-2, adult)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9103-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more