This subtle, satisfying narrative will be especially appealing to introspective readers who yearn for something that’s...


Wednesday the whale, like the day of the week, is positioned in the center of town.

Her gigantic, downtown fishbowl is surrounded by traffic, buildings, and people “flurrying, hurrying, worrying.” Despite the rocks, fish, and plants in her bowl, she is clearly bored and lonely. The cityscape is painted and digitally composed in a muted palette of grays, browns, and pinks; the lyrical text builds mystery. The one thing that engages Wednesday is the “calm bit of blue” seen in the distance if she exerts herself and leaps upward. When a frequent canine observer is joined by its owner—a light-skinned girl in a paisley dress—the seed for escape is planted. Attracted to Piper’s blue eyes, the whale ponders her parting message: “you don’t belong in there.” Wednesday tries leaping again, but fog obscures the view. People start gathering, misunderstanding her motivation: The mammal is not performing. In a final spectacular attempt—highlighted in a vertical gatefold opening and observed by girl and dog—the fishbowl is knocked over, water gushes down the street, and Wednesday flows into the ocean, a lovely blue-green presence so vast it rises nearly to the top of the spread. The whale’s reaction? “And for the first time in her life, she sang.”

This subtle, satisfying narrative will be especially appealing to introspective readers who yearn for something that’s perhaps yet unknown. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1518-2

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 35

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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?

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.


From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet