A satisfying animal survival story for the youngest set.

READ REVIEW

A PENGUIN NAMED PATIENCE

A HURRICANE KATRINA RESCUE STORY

A moving account of a colony of penguins at the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans that survived after Hurricane Katrina due to a dedicated staff and a host aquarium.

In the opening scene, Patience is alone and looks concerned. Patience knows the air is getting hotter and wonders where the penguin keeper and his pail of sardines might be. The narrator’s voice is focused through Patience’s perspective and has a childlike simplicity, supplying just enough information about the aftereffects of the storm to convey the serious conditions without being frightening. The penguins are getting cranky, but Patience tries to “be patient.” This refrain will repeat throughout, for even after the penguin keeper arrives, Patience’s patience will be tried—especially when the penguins are moved to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and her dear keeper must return to New Orleans. Uncluttered watercolor illustrations keep the focus on the two main characters and capture the emotions between them. Children will empathize with Patience’s feelings of uncertainty about the upheaval and separation. And they will feel jubilation when the colony finally arrives home, with Patience leading the way into the repaired aquarium.

A satisfying animal survival story for the youngest set. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58536-840-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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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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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

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