A short and sweet adventure.

CHILDREN OF THE FOREST

Your imagination can take you anywhere.

Two light-skinned siblings spend the day outdoors imagining they are living wild in the forest. Though the text, narrated in first person by the older sibling, relates daring escapades, the artwork depicts the kids in their own backyard. The older child teaches the little one survival skills, and the two come upon a puma (actually a house cat) and must run away, leaving their food behind. The children follow the footprints of “a wild beast,” and soon it’s time for a showdown—“It is either us or him.” The siblings conquer the beast (the family dog), and the narrator informs readers that they will eat well tonight. Next it is time to set up the tent and a warning system in case of more wild creatures. The alarm goes off! But it’s just their mom with water bottles, and soon it’s time for bed—back in the safety of the children’s bedroom. The pencil and watercolor illustrations use a combination of saturated and light colors; scenes depicting big moments fill the page dramatically, and readers will feel immersed in this verdant, idyllic world. The contrast between text and images is clever, and the relationship between the protective older sibling and the younger one is delightful. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A short and sweet adventure. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4767-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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