A pleasant if somewhat misleading invitation for armchair and lap-sitting travelers.

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

FILLED WITH FACTS AND OVER 60 CREATURES

To meet the animals who live there, a young boy travels to different habitats around the world, including his own backyard.

This appealing imaginary adventure is presented as a scrapbook written and drawn by the narrator, depicted here with short curly black hair and (inconsistently) brown skin, usually a shade darker than that of his human companions. From a European farm to the ocean and its shores, the jungle, deserts, and grasslands, woodlands, and in and around his home, the boy befriends animal inhabitants. (Opposite the title page, a note warns children to "NEVER approach or try to touch an animal in the wild unless a grown-up has said it's safe.") Following the title-page spread, an introduction by the young explorer, and the table of contents, there’s a double-page map of inhabited continents showing the locations of habitats described and some of the animals. The chapters that follow briefly introduce each habitat and animal. A few interesting facts about each of the 60 creatures are included in slightly smaller text. The voice and informational choices are entirely those of a small boy, but the watercolor-and-ink illustrations are clearly done by a talented caricaturist with a cheerful sense of humor. As is too often the case with European imports, no sources are given for the information.

A pleasant if somewhat misleading invitation for armchair and lap-sitting travelers. (index) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-914-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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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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