Understated and sunny itself, this picture book subtly prescribes behavior appropriate for situations dire and everyday. So,...

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MARY WRIGHTLY, SO POLITELY

Mary Wrightly’s so soft-spoken and well-mannered she sometimes gets overlooked, but when her polite passivity almost allows the perfect birthday gift for her baby brother to slip away, she pipes up.

Vibrant pastel drawings on cardboard (with discreet digital retouching) delight with crinkly textures and radiantly rich pinks, reds and blues. Rounded inset scenes appear alongside full-bleed pages, adding visual interest to a simple story about a trip to the toy store. Empathetic illustrations successfully evoke little Mary’s suppressed voice and her mounting anxiety as each toy she selects is snatched up by a more aggressive shopper. Mary’s wide face beseeches with diminutive (almost recessed) eyes, nose and mouth, appropriately modest features for a shy girl who shrinks inward. At last, her great assertion comes with an enlarged font and an immense close-up of her moon face in an open-mouthed shout. Children who feel unheard when mommy chatters on the phone or when daddy clicks on the computer know exactly how mute Mary feels as she tugs on her mother’s arm, hoarsely asking for help landing the gift. Every child will enjoy joining in on this book’s irresistible refrain, repeated throughout: “Mary Wrightly, so politely.”

Understated and sunny itself, this picture book subtly prescribes behavior appropriate for situations dire and everyday. So, um, well, will you give it a read...please? (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-34248-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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