A succinct text and an uncluttered design provide space to discover and process a loss.

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TIM'S GOODBYE

How do you let go of a departed pet?

Salerno’s retro caricatures exemplify comforting memorial behaviors. Black crayon is used to form the characters on the sunny yellow pages; a controlled digital palette includes accents of darker yellow, white, and black. Channeling a Bemelmans’ heroine, Margot wears a skirt and an oversized bow in her pageboy. The minimalist garden setting features a chair, four white tulips, and a yellow lump. Thoughtful friends contribute blue balloons and a box. Otto dons his “best hat,” while Melinda plays a “cheerful melody” on her French horn. Buddy the dog is actively present. The lump turns out to be Tim, who, when covered with the flowers and arranged in the box, ascends into the now-blue sky “to a place where he basked in the warm sun and swam in cool waters, forever a happy turtle.” As in Remy Charlip’s and, later, Christian Robinson’s versions of Margaret Wise Brown’s The Dead Bird (1958, 2016), Salerno shows readers how to help a friend mourn a dead animal. Most important, of course, is showing up. Similar to the kites in the aforementioned editions, the balloons add an important buoyancy to the telling, providing a possible entree to matters of the spirit, if readers desire it. The characters are all the yellow of the paper save friend Vincent, who is a darker yellow and has crinkly dark hair.

A succinct text and an uncluttered design provide space to discover and process a loss. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30647-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 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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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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