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MADAME MARTINE

Enchanting.

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: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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