A sweet and simple story about an intergenerational friendship and the bond between neighbors.



A friendship between a young boy and his older neighbor blossoms in a shared backyard.

Khalil and his “big and busy and noisy” family have just moved into their new home. They live upstairs, and “quiet” Mr. Hagerty lives downstairs. Khalil and Mr. Hagerty share the backyard, where both enjoy their own activities. While Mr. Hagerty gardens, Khalil explores, looking for bugs and rocks. A hot summer day brings them together to look for treasures, fueled by chocolate cake and glasses of milk. What starts as a gentle, tentative relationship between the two (Mr. Hagerty helps Khalil “figure out a word” in a book he’s reading while Khalil “[helps] Mr. Hagerty with his words, too”) grows into something stronger. Springstubb directly introduces both characters, building and expanding their relationship from the start, clearly reinforcing that Mr. Hagerty and Khalil both need each other and enjoy each other’s company. Taherian’s illustrations—collage with oil and colored pencil—strengthen the focus on the relationship between Mr. Hagerty and Khalil, revealing little details: In Khalil’s upstairs apartment two adults hold babies, and below sits Mr. Hagerty in a chair, reading. These careful glimpses give readers space to build their own backstories for Springstubb’s endearing characters. Khalil and his family have olive skin, and Mr. Hagerty presents white.

A sweet and simple story about an intergenerational friendship and the bond between neighbors. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0306-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.


From the How to Catch… series

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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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