Richly satisfying.

READ REVIEW

THE GREATEST ADVENTURE

In this picture book, a young city-dwelling boy wishes for a “real adventure,” like the ones his grandfather has had.

Eliot, playing on the sidewalk outside the apartment building where he lives with his mother, demonstrates a tremendous imagination. A paper sailboat in the street gutter becomes a high-seas adventure. A neighbor’s pet pug becomes a huge beast. And when Eliot’s grandfather, El Capitán, writes that he is “coming home” (signing his postcard, one of many reproduced on the front endpapers, “nos vemos pronto”), Eliot looks forward to having a real adventure. El Capitán arrives, and he and Eliot set out to find an adventure in the city. Author/illustrator Piedra’s digitally produced illustrations have the look of oils; they show a darker, muted palette as Eliot and El Capitán “stalk a paper dragon” in Chinatown and navigate a “plastic sea” (a clever double-page spread of a crowd of open umbrellas)—but Eliot, wanting a “real adventure,” asks to sail on the Hispaniola, El Capitán’s boat. But the boat, when El Capitán shows it to him, is old and damaged. Undaunted, Eliot puts his fertile imagination to work as the illustrations become more vividly hued. The ending double-page spread is joyous and brightly colored, affirming the vibrant power of the imagination. Eliot and his mother both have pale skin and dark hair and eyes; the bilingual, Spanish-speaking El Capitán has white hair and dark eyes.

Richly satisfying. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-13419-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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