A gentle story that children will return to time and time again

READ REVIEW

LITTLE NIGHT CAT

A boy’s generosity toward animals in need reaps great rewards.

In this beautiful book by German author/illustrator Danowski, a little white boy named Tony wakes up surrounded by his stuffed animals, eagerly anticipating a party to benefit the local animal shelter. He makes the bold decision to donate his beloved stuffed animals for the raffle. At the shelter, he meets a special cat named Valentine and hums a tune to him called “Little Night Cat” (music for the sweet, melancholy song composed by the author is included at the end of the book). A wallpaperlike design in reds and blues ushers readers from the endpapers into the cozy corners of Tony’s home, drawing them into the detailed setting. The illustrations, rendered in pen and ink, watercolor, and gouache, have soft, fuzzy edges and rounded corners that amplify the fuzziness of the real and stuffed animals. Occasional wordless double-page spreads invite readers to linger on the pages to examine the details of Tony’s home: framed pictures of animals on the walls, his mother’s cello in an open case, cat-patterned fabric hanging as his curtains. Children will empathize with Tony’s anxieties, disappointments, and ultimate happiness as he lives with the consequences of his decision, with the guidance of understanding, caring adults.

A gentle story that children will return to time and time again . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4266-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more