Choice words and creative visuals combine to celebrate and inspire the mind’s eye.

THE POWER OF HENRY'S IMAGINATION

A five-year-old’s imagination comes to his rescue when his stuffed rabbit goes missing.

Raspberry, a cuddly companion with large and expressive ears, was a gift from Grandpa to Henry on the day he was born; the two are inseparable. After the rabbit disappears and the house is turned upside down during the search, Grandpa’s “warm, knowledgeable voice” soothes the child, as does his suggestion to “imagine that you have Raspberry back!” George employs a minimalism that establishes an effective foil to the eventual blossoming of Henry’s interior world. Characters, furniture, and selected objects are formed with gentle lines of ink and filled with the color of the background—a softly textured surface that shifts across a spectrum, from gold to charcoal. In the opening scenes, a leafy branch, striped shirt, and muffin with jelly are among the collaged elements creating interest along the borders. As the theater of the child’s mind takes over, photographs of landscapes—filtered, to align with the subdued palette—are inserted. Then, artfully arranged salt concocts a snowcapped cave in which the boy and pet cook dinner; clothespins turn into crocodiles in a sea of fabric. Distracted with the pleasure of make-believe, the child even drifts off to sleep sans rabbit, although a special nocturnal delivery ensures a satisfying conclusion.

Choice words and creative visuals combine to celebrate and inspire the mind’s eye. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0626-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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