A look at parenthood in the animal kingdom that will have readers poring over the photos.

I LOVE MOM

Mothers in the animal kingdom tend to their babies just as human mothers do.

Whether it’s keeping their young warm (piping plover), helping them move about (dolphin, gazelle), or providing a pouch for them (koala, kangaroo), animal mothers do a lot for their children. Covering two-thirds of each spread is a high-quality stock photo of the mother-baby pair (except for a lone baby orangutan practicing independence), sometimes whole bodies, sometimes close-ups. Set against the remainder of the spread, against a tone-on-tone patterned background, is an anthropomorphized “quote” from the child (cheetah: “I’m just going to stretch my legs and rest my chin on your head. You don’t mind, do you, Mom?”) and a short paragraph of information about the species, most explaining how the mother cares for her child, though these vary in the quality of the informational content (about polar bears: “Their white color helps to camouflage them in the snow,” but they are actually black with transparent hair). Companion title I Love Dad is similar, presenting 14 animal dad-and-baby pairs. These include emperor penguins, sea horses, and Darwin’s frogs and jawfish, both of which keep their tadpoles/eggs in their mouths for safekeeping. Several of the dads are shown to be sharing caretaking duties with the female instead of having specific roles of their own.

A look at parenthood in the animal kingdom that will have readers poring over the photos. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60992-9190

Page Count: 32

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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