Some songs don’t make good books. This is one of them.

READ REVIEW

BUBBLE KISSES

A little girl has a goldfish named Sal, who gives her special kisses.

The book opens with endpapers filled with bubbles and musical notes and concludes with endpapers that add sea horses, sax-playing turtles, a brown-skinned mermaid (who might resemble the book’s celebrity author), and the brown-skinned protagonist-as-mermaid, dancing with Sal. Wearing her hair in a big, maroon afro puff, the child takes Sal everywhere and is rewarded with Sal’s “bub-bub-bub-bub-bubble kiss[es].” Williams’ verse can best be described as pedestrian: “She can’t roar like a lion, bark like a dog, / scratch like a cat, or jump like a frog, // run like a deer, or do a hummingbird hover. / But here’s the reason that I really love her.” In the realistic parts of the story, the girl wears pants and a shirt, but in the fantasy scenes, she has a mermaid’s tail and she and Sal meet merpeople. In the colorful but generic illustrations, both adult and child merpeople have varying-colored skin and tails, but with identically shaped eyes and facial features, this offers only a veneer of racial diversity. The ending paints the underwater portion as a dream. Ironically, despite the monotonous refrain about bubble kisses, Whitaker never illustrates the fish and girl smooching, which raises the question: What, exactly, are bubble kisses? Though unavailable for review, a music CD of the song accompanies this book.

Some songs don’t make good books. This is one of them. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3834-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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