Would that every kid had an imagination like Livi’s so that getting ready for school was always this much fun.

ON MY WAY TO SCHOOL

Livi, that master of imagination who finds ingenious ways to make transition times fun, must tackle getting ready for school in the morning.

As in other books about Livi’s dawdling (On My Way to Bed, 2013, etc.), her mother’s voice is a speech bubble originating off the page, this time prompting her step by step to get ready for school. Livi is a slow snail oozing out of bed. She is a pirate digging for pirate booty (or just something to cover her own booty). She is a chef at breakfast, an elephant warning her sister away from the watering hole where she brushes her teeth, a Sherpa climbing Everest with a gigantic backpack, a kangaroo playing hopscotch. When the bus arrives, it’s a covered wagon, until the page turn, when it’s back to a bus, and Livi is back to Livi…until she sees her best friend, and her imagination once again takes flight. Livi does finally make it to school, where, while she continues to fantasize, she is a proper pupil. Paraskevas’ digital artwork truly captures an inventive young girl whose spirit cannot be contained or squashed, and Livi’s tongue-in-cheek comments are sure to provoke a chuckle or two from parents and children alike.

Would that every kid had an imagination like Livi’s so that getting ready for school was always this much fun. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3700-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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