An inviting, relevant, and timely message of tolerance, inclusiveness, unity, and peace. Just imagine.

IMAGINE

In this illustrated version of the lyrics of Lennon’s 1971 song “Imagine,” a pigeon carries its message far and wide.

Traveling from a crowded subway platform and flying over a river, the pigeon with a mission encourages readers to imagine a world without heaven or hell, without countries, without anything to kill or die for, without religion, possessions, greed, or hunger. Appropriately equipped with an olive branch and orange messenger bag sporting the iconic peace symbol, the pigeon intervenes when two sea gulls fight over a fish and two hummingbirds squabble over a flower. Surrounded by birds of different colors, shapes, and sizes, the pigeon asks them to imagine living in peace and brotherhood. They may think he’s a dreamer, but he’s not alone and suggests they join with him so the “world will be as one.” The visual device of the pacifist carrier pigeon spreading peace gives tangible form to Lennon’s intangible aspirations. Executed in boldly brushed ink lines and digitally colored in an arresting palette of blues, grays, and whites with strong pops of red, orange, chartreuse, and purple, the strikingly simple illustrations reinforce the simple, powerful text.

An inviting, relevant, and timely message of tolerance, inclusiveness, unity, and peace. Just imagine. (foreword by Yoko Ono Lennon, afterword) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-328-80865-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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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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