A richly illustrated view of the seasons through haiku.

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THE YEAR COMES ROUND

First-time author Farrar here teams up with the Caldecott Honor–winning Plume (The Bremen Town Musicians, 1980, etc.) to capture signature poetic snapshots of the four seasons.

While global warming may make these 13 haiku noting distinctions among the seasons ever more historical as the years continue to come round, the evocative scenes Farrar paints are sure to inspire young readers to note cyclical changes in the natural world. And just in case these wonderfully imagistic poetic kernels or Plume’s warm, lushly hued watercolors miss their mark, readers can always turn to Farrar’s prose expositions on time and the seasons at the volume’s end. But the tight marriage of word and image present in the majority of these double-page spreads should render that explanatory annex unnecessary. Farrar excels in choosing natural elements and events that prove quintessentially seasonal. “Like tiny fallen / stars, fireflies quietly blink / their secrets at dusk” suggests the magical depth of a summer’s twilight without needing a syllable more. Similarly, Plume’s exquisite artistry renders a slightly more complex winter poem—“Each windowpane’s a / masterpiece, personally / signed: Your Friend, Jack Frost”—accessible through its abstract amalgam of blue, gray and white icy designs. Plume smartly avoids the temptation to overcompensate for the spareness of these 17-syllable works, lending to Farrar’s year outdoors graphic dimensions as vibrant as nature itself.

A richly illustrated view of the seasons through haiku. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8129-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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