As magical as The Little Prince; as satisfying as Where the Wild Things Are.

READ REVIEW

THE BOY AND THE BLUE MOON

A boy and his cat magically travel to the moon on the night of the blue moon.

In this book that’s reminiscent of The Little Prince in its poetic otherworldly-ness that is nevertheless firmly rooted in human longings, a white boy and his cat venture out on a familiar forest walk on the night of the blue moon—a time, the boy says, when “anything can happen.” It’s hard to overstate how tightly crafted this story is, from its gently precise narrative (“Wish-wish,” say the waves—a hint to readers of the boy’s longing to go to the moon) to its illustrative prowess: the cat wordlessly turns blue as it grooms itself in six sequential vignettes, alerting readers early to magical potential. With a sure touch O’Leary suspends reality as the boy and cat first go for a row and then journey to the moon, which is “perfect”—but then, as in Sendak’s masterpiece, loneliness brings them home again. Crowley’s illustrations enhance and complete the story as he uses a predominantly blue-and-white palette to evoke a moonlit, shadow-filled night that convincingly creates magical possibility, just as the use of red for the boy’s lifejacket and then spacesuit and the yellow glow of the lights of home create a feeling of warmth and safety. 

As magical as The Little Prince; as satisfying as Where the Wild Things Are. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62779-774-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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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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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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