GRASSHOPPER

Nature’s miniature whimsies bloom in Ukhova’s wordless picture-book debut, imported from Russia.

A far-off white airplane slips across the rich blue sky as a pale White child rests on a blanket in the middle of a lush green garden. An apple core sits just near their head, overtaken by a squadron of ants. The ants soon crawl over to the child’s face. Intrigued, the child walks over to the anthill. A caterpillar stirs in a pea pod when the child disturbs it, dropping it right beside the anthill. It happens in a series of seconds: The ants overtake the caterpillar and drag their spoils into their home. The child sees it all, with a look of dismay creeping onto their face. The caterpillar’s demise plays out over just a few pages, and it ends almost as soon as it starts, but Ukhova mitigates the small-scale viciousness of the scene thanks to her use of a color palette full of gorgeous greens and blues and a restrained approach to the subject matter made insightful by the absence of text. When the child captures a grasshopper, tearing off one of its legs in the process, the grasshopper’s scooped into a jar to spare it from the same end that befell the caterpillar. Inside the clear jar, the grasshopper’s world reveals itself in all its reliefs and dangers. Through all that happens, the child learns about the effects of their actions on the natural world, and it’s a lesson worth imparting here.

Marvelously astute. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77164-692-5

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more