Convincingly and sweetly told, Moon’s story is a striking authorial debut from illustrator Oliver.

MOON

An overscheduled kid gets a taste of the wild life of wolves and brings some of it back home.

Moon is a young girl with a long list of to-dos, including homework, trumpet lessons, “stuff and more stuff.…Moon always did it all. But she wondered what it would be like not to.” Moon tries to learn what it would be like to be wild in books, but that’s a dead end. Instead, she wanders out one night and befriends a benign pack of wolves. She asks them to show her “the wolfy ways,” leading to pouncing, playing, and, of course, howling. It’s exactly what one would expect, as Moon learns the value of being wild once in a while, which she brings back to her school, to the enjoyment (and participation) of classmates. But one passage resonates and stands apart from the rest, on a double-page spread in which Moon and a wolf calmly meditate, their images reflected in a pool of water, and Moon learns “How to be still, how to listen and feel.” The delicate illustrations, which have a dreamlike quality in their glowing whites and luminous pastels (not to mention Moon’s purple skin), suggest that this may be a dream, but what Moon learns is not.

Convincingly and sweetly told, Moon’s story is a striking authorial debut from illustrator Oliver. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-78160-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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