A gentle, effective presentation of an environmental disaster.

NO MORE PLASTIC

Angered by the death of a whale, beached on the ocean shore she loves, Isley finds a constructive response.

When Isley learns that the dead right whale had starved from filling its stomach with plastic trash instead of whale food, she is devastated. Her first reaction is believably childlike—a tantrum. She stomps, she kicks, she screams: “NO MORE PLASTIC.” But she channels her distress into action, refusing plastic in all its forms and encouraging her neighbors to do the same. Although they forget about the whale eventually, returning to old habits, Isley continues to pick up plastic trash on the beach. With the mountain she’s collected, she builds a full-sized whale sculpture, an unavoidable reminder that changes behaviors in her community. Like Isley with her construction, author/illustrator Fullerton has created her illustrations from “repurposed plastic, sand, and moss.” Among the best of the recent books about ocean plastic thanks to its positive approach and practical suggestions included at the end, this title would work well as a group read-aloud. The narrative is full of sounds: lapping wave sounds begin and end the story, but there are also sea gulls’ squawks, whales’ songs, and a quiet nighthawk’s call. The target audience will be slightly younger than that for Susan Hood’s The Last Straw (2021), which has more substantive backmatter. The setting is Prince Edward Island; the protagonist presents White.

A gentle, effective presentation of an environmental disaster. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77278-113-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Hee haw.

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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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Informative, empowering, and fun.

ROX'S SECRET CODE

Girl power abounds in this book about coding that introduces young readers to the world of programming while offering them hands-on activities via a companion app.

In this title that was first introduced as a customizable, personalized print-on-demand product, Rox has a superpower. Using code, she programs toy robots that can do things like make broccoli disappear—or mischief. When Dad tells Rox to clean her room, she quickly thinks up a bot that will do it for her, writing code that instructs her bot to use artificial intelligence to sort objects by color and type. Though Rox knows that there’s a high potential for her creation to rebel, the perks outweigh any potential adverse effects. Rox’s robot has her room neat and tidy in no time—and then the entire home. Chorebot’s AI allows it to keep learning, and it seems Chorebot can do no wrong until the robot decides to rearrange the entire city (both buildings and people) by type, style, and gender. Chorebot goes “out of his artificial mind!” Rox must now stop her creation…without the assistance of the internet. The artwork, styled in the tradition of popular superhero series, is peppy and colorful, and it depicts Rox as an adorable black girl donning a black bomber jacket and a pink tutu. A companion app (not available for review) allows readers to create a bot of their own.

Informative, empowering, and fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-899-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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