Indeed, moths do deserve to be recognized, and this a good springboard.

NOT A BUTTERFLY ALPHABET BOOK

“It’s about time moths had their own book!”

Pallotta extends his many topical alphabet books (most recently The Crab Alphabet Book, illustrated by Tom Leonard, 2019) with this seeming rebuttal to the glut of butterfly books. Collaborator Bersani’s Prismacolor pencil and Photoshop illustrations are hands-down the stars here. Up-close pictures in brilliant, naturalistic colors and patterns dazzle the eye and will surely send readers out the door to hunt for some moth species. (The absence of a map and info about individual species’ ranges may hamper them, though.) Pallotta rounds out the single large-font sentence identifying the letter of the alphabet and the species (“G is for Green Lips Moth”) with a paragraph of information. These vary widely in both amount of information and relevance, many of them addressing moths in general rather than a specific moth. C (cow moth), for instance, talks about how most moths land (wings spread, as opposed to butterflies, which usually land with their wings folded), and D (diamond moth) makes a snarky comparison to a Delta Dart fighter jet. Though several pages talk about ways moths camouflage themselves, it’s not until the letter I that the term is used: “This yellow moth is camouflaged when sitting on a yellow flower.” Other entries teach readers about wing scales, anatomy, moths’ attraction to light, their life cycle, a bit about what they eat and what eats them, and a few other differences between moths and butterflies.

Indeed, moths do deserve to be recognized, and this a good springboard. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-689-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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