Sophistication of illustrations aside, it is essentially a one-joke tale that will leave readers and listeners wondering...

READ REVIEW

MATILDA AND HANS

First published in the U.K. in 2012 as Hans and Matilda, this quirky import combines minimal text, an odd twist and charmingly childlike pictures to create a brief (a)morality tale.

Matilda, an anthropomorphic cream-colored cat dressed in a red-and-white polka-dot dress leads a blameless, if somewhat boring, life. Hans, meanwhile, is also cream-colored, though he sports black whiskers. Unlike Matilda, Hans lives to misbehave. While Matilda spends her days reading, gardening and tidying, Hans plays tricks and commits vandalism. When Matilda sees a wanted poster promising a big reward, she decides to turn Hans in. Whether she earns the reward is not revealed, but her behavior and Hans’ certainly change as a result of her decision. Yokococo uses short, simple sentences to convey the action. Her mixed-media–and-watercolor illustrations have clean lines and appear to mirror the simplicity of the text. Closer examination, however, reveals that not only have a limited palette and matte paper been used for Hans’ adventures, but Matilda’s more colorful scenes appear to have been created on textured paper. This difference effectively prevents readers from predicting the plot twist while also emphasizing the cozy feel of Matilda’s environment.

Sophistication of illustrations aside, it is essentially a one-joke tale that will leave readers and listeners wondering what the point is—if any—yet still isn’t likely to stir up much real interest. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6434-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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