TOM MOUSE

Adventure tales aren’t often as quiet as this item, which takes a low-key approach. Thirsting to see what lies over the horizon, little Tom Mouse, of the house mouse variety, hops a train headed for points west. He manages to secret himself in a sleeper, which he has all to himself for the first night, bedazzled by the countryside rolling along beside him and by the stars that appear to be traveling with him. But the next day, a human enters the sleeping cabin—an inconvenience, since Tom is relegated to hiding in the closet, but on the other hand she does leave a paper bag full of goodies for him to snack upon. Tom dares leave the sanctuary of the closet only when the woman goes to dinner and late at night, when he thinks she is asleep. Then, once more, he heads to the window to marvel at the passing world, even to break out in a jig at the sheer glory of it all. Turns out the woman was not so ignorant of Tom’s existence—and the next day she confronts him. His fears are soon allayed when she reveals herself to be a friend of wild creatures—it is suggested that she is perhaps a wildlife biologist—and she invites him to join her on her travels: to Chicago, San Francisco, and Tokyo. This celebration of the open road and the kindness of strangers comes as particularly salubrious at a time when the prevailing mood is to batten down the hatches. And the soft colors and somewhat misty look of the art are in keeping with the mood: daring yet protected. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-1599-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Hee haw.

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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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