Entertaining and mind-expanding

NEAR, FAR

From the Minibombo series

Perception is everything as readers are invited to see animals from close up and afar.

Each animal is seen first on a double-page spread as a very large shape, indistinguishable as anything but the shape itself. A second spread pulls back just enough to hint that there is something more, a clue to the puzzle, while the third spread depicts the animal in question. There is no text, but there are boldly hued, intriguing, mystifying shapes. The creatures that finally emerge represent the animals in their most stripped-down forms. The alligator appears as two green mountainous bumps against a solid gold background, followed by a wavy range of bumps, before its whole self is shown. The initial shapes of the bird, mouse, and hedgehog suggest very large creatures, only to shrink to a small corner of the page. Conversely, the hippo’s close-up is so enormous that there is no shape at all, only a seemingly blank page. Each animal is a delightful surprise, staring smugly out at the audience. The rear endpapers feature more, and perhaps different, sets of curious eyes. Borando aims for a high level of visual acuity and sophistication, demanding sharp eyes and a vivid imagination. Grown-ups and little ones will want to experience the fun again and again.

Entertaining and mind-expanding . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8783-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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