FISH AND SUN

From the I Can Read! Comics series

Fish and Sun become fast friends in this Level 1 entry in the I Can Read! Comics series.

Fish, small and lavender-hued, is bored. It’s too dark and cold in Fish’s watery abode, so Fish tells Mom: “I’m going out.” Unfortunately, it’s “dark and cold and boring” at the surface too—that is, until Fish sees a yellow orb with long, spindly rays rise in the sky. “I’m Sun,” the friendly presence says, and a friendship is born. When Sun turns red and sets, Fish mourns the loss but happily reunites with Sun the next day after the clouds part. Young readers will identify with Fish’s extreme mood swings: ennui followed by elation followed by heartache (“I am afraid I will never see my friend Sun again”)—and joy once again when the pair reunites. Compositions are tightly focused and uncluttered; lines are simple and clean; and details delight, such as when Fish sleeps on a pillow at the bottom of the ocean and—after Sun asks, “Do you know any tricks?”—gleefully spits water. The book nearly sparkles with color: The sun-dappled palette is one of warm, eye-catching, and elegant pastel shades. The book’s dialogue is set in bold black text in clean, white speech balloons. Level 1 comics in this series promise “simple stories for shared reading,” and those adults sharing this one can expect requests for rereads. A tutorial on reading comics precedes the story.

A captivating new duo. (Graphic early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-307664-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperAlley

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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