A bright and cheerful story dimmed just a bit by a lack of specificity.

RED SHOES

This is the story of a beloved pair of red shoes that finds a home with two little girls from vastly different worlds.

Shortly after Malika, a little Black girl, spies the pair of red shoes in a shop window, Nana surprises her with them. Malika loves her shoes and the “click-clack-click” sound they make when she walks. She wears them while dancing with her father, during holiday get-togethers with her family, and even while at play. But one day she realizes her shoes have become too small, and “they don’t let her forget her feet have grown!” Malika and Nana take the shoes to the thrift shop, where they are purchased and taken on a trip to Africa to become a gift for a special little girl named Amina, who has just fasted for half the month of Ramadan for the first time. The story is thoroughly charming, and English nails Malika’s joy in her shiny, red shoes—readers who have loved and given away favorite toys, clothing, or even shoes will recognize her attachment instantly. The illustrations are vibrant, with lots of brown faces that have subtle varying shades; Amina and the women in her family cover their hair. However beautiful the story and illustrations, it is unfortunate that the book locates Amina’s home only in “Africa” rather than a specific country. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 28% of actual size.)

A bright and cheerful story dimmed just a bit by a lack of specificity. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-11460-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How to Catch… series

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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