The pictures perfectly capture the message of the book. Readers will both envy Bear’s trove of junk and be very eager to...

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BIG BROWN BEAR'S CAVE

Humans are terrible role models for bears.

The title character of this picture book is envious of human beings’ caves, where they store their cars. They’re full of stuff! “My cave will have the most stuff ever!” Big Brown Bear says, and he starts to gather stringed instruments and a rotary phone and a rocking horse. Soon, he’s trapped in a room full of clutter, and his friends have to pull him out, in a lovely echo of Pooh’s adventure with the hunny pot. The moral is both funny and wise, and some readers (particularly those who collect books) will recognize themselves in the main character. But the real appeal of the book is the digital illustrations, because they attract attention by looking just slightly wrong. One bear’s fur is a strange silvery-blue, and the characters’ arms and legs tilt away from their bodies at unlikely angles. The playful anatomy is oddly endearing. If Zommer took it any further, Big Brown Bear might cease to be a bear altogether and turn into a collection of beautiful and surprising shapes, which is entirely appropriate to the theme. And Bear’s pile of stuff looks like a glorious collage, with almost every item a different color.

The pictures perfectly capture the message of the book. Readers will both envy Bear’s trove of junk and be very eager to clean up their own piles of stuff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9646-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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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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