A valuable ecological message, deftly delivered. Incandescent.

PANDORA

A gentle fox finds a friend in a desolate world.

Pandora the fox, who wears a simple blue dress, stands resolutely in the middle of a heaping pile of trash: mattress, bird cage, bicycle wheel, old Victrola, etc. She lives alone “in a land of broken things.” The landscape has a sepia tint, but there are pops of color inside Pandora’s home, where she repairs found articles. One day, outside her window, a bird falls from the sky. It’s broken too, but Pandora knows how to fix it. She makes it snug in a box full of shavings and watches over it. As the days go by, the bird grows stronger. He hops, then flies short distances, always returning to Pandora and his box at night. Until one day he doesn’t, and all that’s left is his nest inside the box. Pandora fears her heart will break. But day by day, from the nest of twigs, trees and flowers and leaves grow, covering the landscape. One morning, Pandora awakens to the sound of bird song and sees a land of green things. And guess who comes back? Turnbull’s beautiful pictures are worth the proverbial thousand words; she wisely keeps the text to a minimum. Her soft, spacious drawings judiciously vary perspective and composition to great effect. Pandora alone in her bed in the upper left of a double-page spread with the empty box in the bottom right says everything.

A valuable ecological message, deftly delivered. Incandescent. (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-94733-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Likely to cause some imaginative prancing among unicorn and kitty lovers.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

ITTY-BITTY KITTY-CORN

Is Kitty only a kitten? Or might she be a noble unicorn?

Inspired by the unicorn on her poster, Kitty crafts a perfect horn and admires herself in the mirror. She feels “unicorn-y.” Her friends disagree. “ ‘You’re not a unicorn, putty-pie,’ says Parakeet. / ‘You’re curled up like a cat, fluffy-fry,’ says Gecko.” So Kitty uncurls to prance and gallop, but her detractors point out her tiny tail. With some effort she plumps it up. They tell her she will never be a unicorn because she meows like a cat; this, of course, prompts her to let out a loud “NEIGH!” Parakeet and Gecko are having none of it, each time varying their mild name-calling. As the sun dips low, Kitty’s sure her long shadow looks like a unicorn’s—until a real unicorn clops into view. Gecko and Parakeet are impressed, and Kitty feels insignificant. But this unicorn has a secret…a pair of fluffy, pink kitty ears the same pink as Kitty’s. They can be kitty-corns together, best friends. Unicorn fans will definitely identify with Hale’s protagonist and respond well to Pham’s bright cartoons, laid out as spot illustrations that pop against the mostly all-white backgrounds. The way Kitty’s friends dismissively poke fun with their name-calling may give some readers pause, but the be-true-to-the-inner-you message and the expressive characterizations add appeal. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 51.2% of actual size.)

Likely to cause some imaginative prancing among unicorn and kitty lovers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5091-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more