Refreshingly simple, humorous, and playful.

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IS THAT YOU, ELEANOR SUE?

Young Eleanor Sue loves to play dress-up on Saturdays, and her mother plays along perfectly.

Dark type in a large font proclaims against the faded gold wallpaper of a room filled with clothes: “Today is Saturday, Eleanor Sue’s favorite day to do her favorite thing—play dress-up.” The little girl is wearing an olive-green dress and appears ready to add still more brush strokes to a ridiculously large, bouffant hairdo. She leaves through her bedroom window, grabbing a garden gnome on the way, and appears at the front door. She introduces herself as Mrs. McMuffins, a new neighbor, and then spouts off an absurd list of problems she’s identified in her new neighborhood. Eleanor Sue’s mother offers tea and listens, straight-faced, to such absurdities as how the sun in the window forces Mrs. McMuffins to wear sunglasses at nap time, and how her eyebrows hurt. Tusa’s trademark pen-and-ink drawings with watercolor washes complement the lighthearted mood of the text. Each of Eleanor Sue’s quick changes—which include a witch, a wizard, a bear, and more—leads to another funny conversation with her mother, along with plenty of exciting vocabulary (“prosperous,” “ferocious,” “centaur,” “equator”) and imaginative ideas. There is also a good deal of humorous action between that bedroom window and the front door. For example, how fast can a “cat” change into another costume and back again? The ending is unexpected—and equal in caliber to the entire book’s warmth and whimsy. Both Eleanor Sue and her mother present white.

Refreshingly simple, humorous, and playful. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-14323-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to...

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

DRAWN TOGETHER

The power of art takes center stage in this cleverly titled story of a Thai-speaking grandfather connecting to his assimilated American grandson.

The title page introduces readers to a sullen-faced Asian boy as he walks up to a door and rings the bell. After a traditional bow of greeting, the grandfather, dressed like Mr. Rogers in a white shirt and red sweater, wordlessly welcomes the grandson inside. In paneled artwork, the two unsuccessfully attempt conversation over dinner, with the grandfather speaking in Thai script and the boy speaking in English. Sitting in the uncomfortable silence that cultural divides create, the awkward boy finally walks away to doodle on paper. He draws a wizard with a wand and a conical red hat. Grandpa, recognizing this creative outlet, fetches a sketchbook and, surprisingly, draws his version of a wizard: a tightly detailed warrior clothed in traditional Thai ceremonial dress. The young boy is amazed, marveling that “we see each other for the first time.” The two begin a battle of imagination, wands and paintbrushes thrashing like swords. One draws in energetic colorful cartoons, the other with fierce black-and-white, precisely brushed drawings. Santat elevates their newfound shared passion into energetic, layered, and complex designs, separate and entwined at the same time. They clash with the dragon that divides them and build a new world together “that even words can’t describe.”

Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to connect and the joy of sharing the creative process. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-6760-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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