This lovely journey makes a lovely read.

READ REVIEW

A LOVELY JOURNEY

A sensitive child experiences friendship in this book from a Taiwanese author/illustrator.

A heart with furnished rooms in each chamber sits inside a person’s silhouette. On the facing page, a child wearing a polka-dot dress and a smile sets a table for one. The text says, “My tiny self lives in a tiny house. Sometimes I enjoy being alone.” Other times, though, the child doesn’t want to be alone. “Especially when I think of times past.” The child wonders where their friends have gone and where to find new friends. But what makes a good friend anyway? Each day of the week, the child asks a new animal this question, and each animal has a different answer. Friends share food (the guinea pigs’ advice); friends snuggle up close (a cat’s); friends wait for you (a turtle’s). After a week, the child stands on the street, feeling lonely—until a boy approaches asking where he can find some friends. They look around together before walking off hand in hand. At the end, the protagonist is glad to have gone looking for friends, because “they were looking for me.” This thoughtful, quiet story offers a way for children to explore emotions and social relationships. Depicting multiple perspectives and emotional needs brings home the story’s gentle message of uniqueness, consideration, and interdependence. Soft colors dominate the pictures, which depict the children with paper-white skin and black hair.

This lovely journey makes a lovely read. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4788-6821-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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