Anthropomorphic but basically sound and as infectious as the ubiquitous bird’s own “Cheerily-cheerily, cheerily-cheerup,...

ROBINS!

HOW THEY GROW UP

Two young robins (“robin teenagers!”) chattily describe their first spring and fall.

Inspired by the appearance of a nest built atop a hoe in her garden shed, Christelow creates a pair of feathered narrators who present their life story—or the first part, at least. That begins in early spring with the arrival of Dad, who stakes out a territory in preparation for the later appearance of Mom. Subsequent nesting, hatching, and fledging occur in due order—with the consumption of “fourteen feet of worms” in the first two weeks alone (“Regurgitated worms! Yum!”). They also lose two sibs to a squirrel and a hawk, practice flying, watch parents and other members of the flock to learn about personal care as well as hazards and food sources, and finally molt and migrate south. In keeping with the informal tone, the author places loosely drawn animal figures in a mix of large single or smaller sequential panels, or sometimes just out on the open page with text enclosed in dialogue balloons. Aside from one poorly placed comment that may leave readers with the impression that Dad fertilized the eggs after they were laid, the natural history is accurate. A closing Q-and-A fills in more detail, including the salient fact that not all robins are migratory.

Anthropomorphic but basically sound and as infectious as the ubiquitous bird’s own “Cheerily-cheerily, cheerily-cheerup, cheerup!” (author’s note, glossary, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-44289-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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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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