The gorgeous watercolor illustrations of this sweet picture book help secure it a place in the hearts of adults who read it.

READ REVIEW

LOVING HANDS

A parent-child relationship evolves as time passes.

From the title-page illustration of a peach-skinned, pregnant mother, hands spread across her belly, to the same mother, silver-haired, holding her grown son’s hand, the titular “loving hands” anchor the story of parenthood and its moments both sweet and bittersweet. Johnston’s text has some lovely, poetic lines: “His mother’s hair turns white as salt. / Her memories slip like sand, / except for one, dearest of all— / the memory of her Lamb.” While most of the stanzas either rhyme or include a loose rhyme, some awkwardly seem not to at all, thus breaking up the otherwise sweet lullaby lilt. It’s really Bates’ illustrations—done in watercolor, gouache, and pencil—that stand out, gently and warmly showing the intimate moments of parenting. Each of the book’s four stunning two-page spreads features tone and shadows echoed in color across all four. The remaining scenes include text pages with a darling, small illustration featuring the mother and/or son’s hands that echoes a woodcut design—a nice, delicate touch. Ultimately, this is a beautiful picture book sure to resonate with any adult who has ever loved a child. Meanwhile, kids will relate to the childhood hallmarks represented throughout.

The gorgeous watercolor illustrations of this sweet picture book help secure it a place in the hearts of adults who read it. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7993-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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