Bear in particular takes a star turn in the loving trio’s latest welcome outing.

READ REVIEW

BEAR CAN DANCE!

From the Goose and Bear series

The splendid friends boogie down.

Hearing Bear’s wish to fly—“So I could swoop and glide / and feel the wind in my fur”—hyperactive Fox rushes into view with a cape and goggles. But spinning about to Fox’s instructions only leaves Bear feeling woozy. Fox’s next idea involves a sled ride...which also doesn’t end well. What to do? A portable record player (younger readers may need a bit of parental explanation here) turns out to be all Bear really needs to “swoop and glide”: “It’s like flying, but with your / feet on the ground. Mostly.” Both at the start and later on, big, fantastically shaggy Bear really cuts the rug in Bloom’s elementally simple pastels, demonstrating solo dance moves and poses that Dancing with the Stars entrants can only dream of and finally sweeping Goose and Fox up in a delirious collective whirl. Abrupt transitions from indoor dancing to outdoor sledding and back, plus jacket flaps that partially obscure the charming figures on the endpapers, are distracting but minor hitches in a joyful invitation to move to the music, any music.

Bear in particular takes a star turn in the loving trio’s latest welcome outing. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62979-442-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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Accessible, reassuring and hopeful.

THE INVISIBLE BOY

This endearing picture book about a timid boy who longs to belong has an agenda but delivers its message with great sensitivity.

Brian wants to join in but is overlooked, even ostracized, by his classmates. Readers first see him alone on the front endpapers, drawing in chalk on the ground. The school scenarios are uncomfortably familiar: High-maintenance children get the teacher’s attention; team captains choose kickball players by popularity and athletic ability; chatter about birthday parties indicates they are not inclusive events. Tender illustrations rendered in glowing hues capture Brian’s isolation deftly; compared to the others and his surroundings, he appears in black and white. What saves Brian is his creativity. As he draws, Brian imagines amazing stories, including a poignant one about a superhero with the power to make friends. When a new boy takes some ribbing, it is Brian who leaves an illustrated note to make him feel better. The boy does not forget this gesture. It only takes one person noticing Brian for the others to see his talents have value; that he has something to contribute. Brian’s colors pop. In the closing endpapers, Brian’s classmates are spread around him on the ground, “wearing” his chalk-drawn wings and capes. Use this to start a discussion: The author includes suggested questions and recommended reading lists for adults and children.

Accessible, reassuring and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-582-46450-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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