Delightful—and not the least bit troublesome.

READ REVIEW

DOUBLE TROUBLE

Twins go in search of trouble—and find it!

The text doesn’t assign Ellis and Erin pronouns but does identify them as twins. The siblings have light-brown skin, and Ellis wears glasses and has short, curly, dark hair; Erin’s hair is the same color but straighter and longer. These differences in appearance will help readers keep the twins straight as they cause playful chaos in their search for “trouble.” To no avail, they “rummage through the bags and boxes in the garage” and look for “trouble” at the bottom of trash bins and up a big tree. Splashing in a mud puddle brings glee and perhaps an assumption on readers’ parts that this muddy mess is, at last, where the twins “find trouble.” But they continue their search only to dejectedly go inside, “disappointed they couldn’t find trouble.” Dyer’s bright, lively collage art shows the children, dirty and disheveled, tracking mud and detritus into the house, which may again prompt readers to shake their heads knowingly—clearly these children have found trouble, whether they think so or not. But a twist ending, textually reliant on an avoidance of capitalizing Trouble as a proper noun in prior pages, reveals that Trouble is the name of the children’s cat. They find her in a satisfying culmination of their (perhaps) inadvertently mischievous search.

Delightful—and not the least bit troublesome. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84976-659-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tate/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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