A sweet story buoyed by beautiful illustrations.

LLOYD FINDS HIS WHALESONG

A quiet young whale finds his own way to contribute to his pod’s song.

Grampa Whale sings to find food, and Mama Whale sings to keep the pod safe, but young humpback whale Lloyd’s song is just too quiet. While enjoying the peace of a kelp forest, Lloyd finds an unusual thing: a ukulele covered in “ancient, sea-tumbled glass,” with “storm-strong seaweed strings.” Amann’s debut picture book contains a sprinkling of these descriptive turns of phrase, but her illustrations are what really shine. Each page conveys the mood with a different kind of ocean light, such as dappled kelp forest, deep, dark blue depths, and filtered sunbeams. The sounds at the center of the narrative are also depicted visually: The whale song is rendered as floaty pink lines nostalgically reminiscent of a stereo equalizer, the noise of a ship is unpleasant yellow-green zigzags, and Lloyd’s ukulele produces sparkling gold confetti. Lloyd learns to play his whale song on the ukulele just in time to save his pod from noise pollution caused by the ship. Along with an introduction to the science of whale song and how noise pollution affects it, readers will learn that everyone can contribute in their own way. Though this lesson is familiar, it is notable and refreshing in that Lloyd does not uncover an innate special power but rather employs a tool to support him.

A sweet story buoyed by beautiful illustrations. (further information, whale song musical notation, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62414-943-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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