A rousing, toothy adventure.


A young girl must figure out a way to help a sharp-toothed and fearsome creature many times her size.

Crocodiles come from all over the jungle to see the child they call Little Doctor, who attends to a variety of ailments: splinters, sprains, and self-esteem issues. In return for her ministrations they regale the girl with stories of adventure and fearless beasts. Then an enormous crocodile known as Big Mean appears at the girl’s door, and it takes some patience and an accidental trip inside Big Mean’s jaws to diagnose the problem. Little Doctor frees four hatchlings (carried gently inside Big Mean’s mouth) tangled and trapped by a plastic beverage yoke. Gilmore’s crocodiles, both large and small, are reptilian and sly, even dangerous-looking, accentuating the child’s devotion to these far-from-cuddly creatures. The girl is light-skinned, slim, determined, and serious. Her house in the jungle is filled with crocodile-themed art, including diagrams of the crocodilian life cycle and anatomy, and tools of the doctor’s trade—clipboards, a reflex hammer. The art is angular and detailed, with fine lines and subtle colors. The use of the word “fearless” instead of “fearsome” to describe the crocodiles emphasizes the courage it takes both humans and wild creatures to trust. Big Mean repays with a tale of “great daring and determination”—a story about the Little Doctor herself.

A rousing, toothy adventure. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77147-344-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Hee haw.

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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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