A joyous celebration of a wonderful bond.

READ REVIEW

RUTABAGA BOO!

A mother and son’s call-and-response tradition keeps them linked even when they aren’t together.

It’s the illustrations that do the heavy lifting in this tale since the text consists of the two titular words and a final “I always love you” at bedtime, but those pictures speak volumes. An exuberant young boy greets his sleeping mother in the morning: “Rutabaga?” The following spread show her awake and joyously swinging him up in her arms: “Boo!” The two repeat this exchange all day, the boy’s sometimes ending with a question mark, as when he can’t find her during a game of hide-and-seek, and sometimes with an enthusiastic exclamation point. But the whole day isn’t spent together—at one point mom snuggles him in what appears to be grandma’s house before leaving briefly, the boy forlorn at the door, though the two do exchange the titular words over a video chat on the computer, and great fun is had with grandma, who ultimately gets him ready for bedtime and the return of mom (caregivers may sigh at the sight of toys in a gift bag, though the boy’s ever present stuffed rabbit is never pushed aside). Adamson’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations celebrate the bond between mother and child, and she doesn’t dwell on the separation, showing that the boy can still have fun even though the two are apart. This single-parent family is white.

A joyous celebration of a wonderful bond. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2461-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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