OHora has fused bright and engaging artwork highlighting the beauty and diversity of this community apartment building with...

NIBLET & RALPH

Readers meet a duo of feline friends whose mix-up due to an uncanny resemblance leads to the meeting of two new potential human friends.

Niblet and Ralph look alike…a lot alike. But only the two friends realize that they live in the same building. When meowing on the phone loses its excitement, the two friends decide simultaneously and independently to visit each other, only to discover that the other isn’t there. When Ralph’s and Niblet’s adorable children, Gemma, a girl with straight black hair and light brown skin, and Dilla, a black boy, return to their respective homes, they notice immediately that something is awry. “Not Niblet” refuses his favorite cheesy chips, and “Fake Ralph” hates his usual hugs. At night Gemma and Dilla imagine all of the horrible fates that could have befallen their beloved pets: Have they been kidnapped by a robot? Have they been eaten by a dog, stolen, or carried off by birds? When Gemma and Dilla decide to scour the neighborhood and post fliers in search of their furry family members, they collide in an uproarious fashion. Using a palette of turquoise, orange, brown, and black and his trademark heavy black line, OHora invests all his characters with plenty of personality, even the two seemingly identical calico cats.

OHora has fused bright and engaging artwork highlighting the beauty and diversity of this community apartment building with a truly endearing story that is sure to amuse young readers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2791-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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