A book to return to over a broad range of ages.

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NATURE

From the Story Worlds series

A set of wordless images invites browsers to wonder and speculate about the natural world.

Beginning and ending with a pair of birds who meet, build a nest, and raise a family, Hegbrook’s finely crafted paintings, placed singly or in groups with ample spacing on a page or spread, portray a wide variety of natural scenes. They depict both plants and animals in action in their likely habitats, over time, and in a wide variety of places. The creatures pictured in this oversized album are recognizable even when exactly what they are doing isn’t clear. (The last pages provide explanations accompanying small reproductions of each spread.) Some images are obvious: a giraffe stretches its neck to reach leaves on a branch and another spreads its legs, leaning over for a drink. More usually the stories depend on prior knowledge: there’s a caterpillar, a chrysalis, and a colorful butterfly. Some turn out to require information the picture can’t convey: an owl appears to catch and then drop a lizard. The endnotes explain, “a fire salamander releases poison from his pores to fend off a predator,” the kind of alarming detail young naturalists appreciate. Small type opposite the title page offers steps for appreciation of this unusual title: observe, inquire, wonder. Twice the author asks, “What do you think?”

A book to return to over a broad range of ages. (Picture book. 3-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944530-01-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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