No one who reads this can remain unmoved by this tiny bird’s tenacity; this is sure to create avid new bird-watchers.

A WARBLER'S JOURNEY

The story of one bird’s nearly 4,000-mile migratory journey.

The female yellow warbler has lived in the highlands of Nicaragua for five months, but on this day, she feels different, and that night, she takes off to the north. She flies every night for a week until she reaches the Yucatán Peninsula, where she prepares for the unceasing 600-mile crossing of the Gulf of Mexico. Several weeks later, she finally reaches the shores of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories, Canada, where she was born and where her mate waits. Along the bird’s journey, Weidensaul introduces three children who spy her: a young brown-skinned girl picking coffee on her family’s plantation, a Black boy in his grandmother’s backyard garden on the U.S. Gulf Coast, and a Native girl celebrating the protection of her people’s land around Great Slave Lake. Lyrical language will entice readers: “The tropical night air was warm and steamy. Snakes slithered. Bats swooped on leathery wings.” Lane’s realistic oil paintings take up three-quarters of each double-page spread, immersing readers in the habitats the yellow warbler passes through. The artwork varies perspective, sometimes focusing on the bird, other times pulling back for a wider view and giving kids an opportunity to seek out the tiny yellow creature. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

No one who reads this can remain unmoved by this tiny bird’s tenacity; this is sure to create avid new bird-watchers. (map, ways to help migratory birds) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-940719-47-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gryphon Press

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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Celebrate a truly accepting multicultural character.

LOLA LEVINE IS NOT MEAN!

From the Lola Levine series , Vol. 1

Brown introduces a smart, young protagonist with a multicultural background in this series opener for chapter-book readers.

Second-grader Lola Levine is half-Peruvian and half-Jewish; she is a skilled soccer player, a persuasive writer, and aspires to own a cat in the near future should her parents concede. During a friendly recess soccer match, Lola, playing goalie, defends an incoming ball by coming out of her box and accidentally fouls a classmate. And so Lola acquires the rhyming nickname Mean Lola Levine. Through Lola’s first-person narration, readers see clearly how her savvy and creativity come from her family: Dad, who paints, Mom, who writes, and a fireball younger brother. She also wears her bicultural identity easily. In her narration, her letters to her friends, and dialogue, Lola easily inserts such words as diario, tía, bubbe, and shalom. For dinner, the family eats matzo ball soup, Peruvian chicken, and flan. Interspersed throughout the story are references to all-star soccer athletes, from Brazilian master Pelé to Mia Hamm, Briana Scurry, and David Beckham. Dominguez’s black-and-white illustrations are cheery and appealing, depicting a long-haired Caucasian father and dark-skinned, black-haired mother. Typefaces that emulate penmanship appropriately differ from character to character: Lola’s is small and clean, her mother’s is tall and slanted, while Juan’s, the injured classmate, is sloppy and lacks finesse.

Celebrate a truly accepting multicultural character. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-25836-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Hee haw.

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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

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