A sweet story buoyed by beautiful illustrations.

READ REVIEW

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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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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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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