MADAME MARTINE

Adopting a stray dog inspires a routine-bound woman to take a new view of the world.

Madame Martine follows a strict schedule: Each day she takes the same walk wearing the same coat, shopping at the same stores. And even though she lives near the Eiffel Tower, she’s never climbed it. “Eh. It’s a tourist thing,” says Martine. One day she discovers a wet, dirty dog in a bush, and after determining he’s a stray, she takes him home. She gives him a bath and names him Max, and he promptly falls contentedly asleep on her bed. Then one Saturday, on their routine walk near the tower, a squirrel dashes by, and Max takes chase, pulling the leash from Martine’s hand. Max continues running but heads up the stairs of the tower, forcing Martine to hastily buy a ticket to catch him. Vertiginous views of the tower’s skeleton emphasize its height. When they reach the second level, Max slips into the elevator, and Martine follows. The doors open at the top to a spectacular two-page spread of Paris at twilight, with Martine and Max in the foreground. After that, Martine and Max resume their daily routines but with a twist: They always try something new on Saturday. The exquisitely rendered watercolor illustrations are full of charm and expression, becoming more colorful and saturated as Martine’s heart gets fuller.

Enchanting. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8075-4905-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 32

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?

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more