Whether for hamsters or humans, a lighthearted how-to guide to being a good roommate.

HAMSTERS MAKE TERRIBLE ROOMMATES

The trials and tribulations of hamster cohabitation.

Henry and Marvin have been roommates for 205 days. Marvin is a cheerful, chatty, cream-colored hamster who enthuses nonstop about sunflower seeds, chatters away on the wheel, and incessantly interrupts Henry’s peaceful tube-crawling, reading, and resting time. Henry, the beleaguered brown hamster narrator, tells his tale of woe in a melodramatic soliloquy, complete with film-noir spotlights, tally marks on the wall, and many a heavy-eyebrowed look to readers. “On Day Two Hundred and Six, though…” Henry finally snaps, giving chipper Marvin a thorough dressing-down. Finally left in peace, Henry enjoys a day of silence until some clear communication from Marvin sets the story straight. Henry reflects ruefully, “I like the quiet. / But he didn’t know that. / He wanted me to talk. / But I didn’t see that.” The story ends on a sweet note, with Henry apologizing and both sides establishing new ground rules that meet both of their needs. Klein’s pithy storytelling both thoughtfully conveys the introvert-extrovert divide and gently teaches the art of apology. Alwar’s watercolor-textured digital illustrations are funny, expressive, and emotive, with a combination of spot and spread illustrations moving the story along. Charming endpapers show Marvin and Henry—before, and after.

Whether for hamsters or humans, a lighthearted how-to guide to being a good roommate. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-32423-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 35

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more