An inspiring debut that highlights the importance of individuality and courage.

LEAPING LUMBERJACKS

A boy ventures into the woods and witnesses the magical power of dance in this picture book.

While wandering in a forest, a youngster encounters “a grizzly bear dancing nimbly,” a “red fox twirling around a tree,” and a “bison teaching ballet” to other woodland creatures. The boy is introduced to both common animals (such as squirrels and raccoons) and rarely spotted ones (bighorn sheep, porcupines, and others), and he learns terms and movements associated with classical ballet, such as relevésand Pas de bourrées.” Soon, all the animals join a collective dance, and soon, “leaping lumberjacks” add some moves of their own. The little boy acknowledges that one can be both “strong and brave, and like ballet too.” Debut author MacElroy offers a quaint picture book that questions gender stereotypes via artful dance instruction. She indicates an essential harmony that people and animals share and hints that music has the ability to bring people together. The layout of the text is consistent throughout, resulting in a lovely flow that’s easy to follow. The subtle rhymes create an engaging story, while Dillard’s illustrations will capture readers with their detail and vibrant hues.

An inspiring debut that highlights the importance of individuality and courage.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-989819-22-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Golden Brick Road Publishing House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Did you like this book?

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 35

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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?

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.

DOUBLE PUPPY TROUBLE

From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more