A sweet yet troubling account of sisterhood and the power of art.



Scott reminisces about her twin sister, an artist with Down syndrome.

Growing up, Joyce and Judy are “each other’s world.” When Joyce starts kindergarten, Judy is diagnosed with Down syndrome and a weak heart. Doctors say she won’t get better, but Joyce knows her sister is “perfect just the way she is.” To help her learn to speak, her parents send Judy to a special school, and Joyce’s world is “replaced with the colors of gone.” Judy lives in the grim institution until adulthood. Now her sister’s guardian, Scott is stunned to discover that she has been deaf since childhood. Appalled she’s been denied education, Scott enrolls her twin at an Oakland art studio for adults with disabilities. There, Judy Scott finds a passion: creating sculptures from fibers and found objects. For years, Judy Scott expresses herself through art…until, the day after she makes a small, black piece unlike her usual colorful work and gives her sister her magazine collection, she dies of heart failure in author Scott’s arms. It’s bittersweet that she’s “celebrated as a great artist” after her death. Co-written with Spangler and Sweet, Scott’s prose poetically conveys the sisters’ strong bond; Sweet’s nuanced, eye-catching illustrations mimic Judy Scott’s eclectic artwork with vivid colors and bristling collages while depicting the sisters’ love with soft hues. However, the focus, perhaps by necessity, is on the author’s relationship with and feelings about her sister, throwing Judy Scott’s isolated upbringing into sharp relief and rendering her story as disquieting as it is triumphant. The Scott sisters present White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet yet troubling account of sisterhood and the power of art. (timeline, photos, author's note, illustrator's note, sources, resources) (Picture book/biography. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-64811-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity.


While spending the day with Grandpa, young Goldie offers tips on the care and keeping of grandparents.

Though “loyal and loving,” Goldie’s grandfather proves to be quite a character. At Grandparents Day at school, his loud greeting and incessant flatulence are embarrassing, but Goldie is confident that he—and all grandparents—can be handled with the “right care and treatment.” The young narrator notes that playtime should involve the imagination rather than technology—“and NO video games. It’s just too much for them.” Goldie observes that grandparents “live on a diet of all the things your parents tell them are bad for them” but finds that Grandpa’s favorite fast-food restaurant does make for a great meal out. The narrator advises that it’s important for grandparents to get plenty of exercise; Grandpa’s favorite moves include “the Bump, the Hustle, and the Funky Chicken.” The first-person instruction and the artwork—drawn in a childlike scrawl—portray this grandfather in a funny, though unflattering, stereotypical light as he pulls quarters from Goldie’s ears, burps on command, and invites Goldie to pull his finger. Goldie’s grandfather seems out of touch with today’s more tech-savvy and health-oriented older people who are eager to participate with their grandchildren in contemporary activities. Though some grandparent readers may chuckle, kids may wonder how this mirrors their own relationships. Goldie and Grandpa are light-skinned; Goldie’s classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24932-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.


Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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