In the current run of titles about older siblings feeding younger ones, this one stands out for its inventive imagery and...

TIGER IN MY SOUP

A boy is left in the care of his older sister in an interesting house.

The boy wants her to read to him, but she’s got a book of her own (and earbuds in her ears) and keeps putting him off. She makes him a can of soup for lunch, and the steam rises and morphs into…“A tiger!” He drops his spoon and tries to defend himself against the ravenous beast with a fabulous contraption made of ladle, corkscrew, whisk and tongs, but his sister only wants to know why he let his soup get cold. Microwaving the soup, she acquiesces, reading his book (which is about a tiger) aloud while he eats. The satisfied tiger, meanwhile, wanders about his imagination. The pictures are quite wonderful: The huge, vivid tiger grows out of the soup and goes everywhere, roaring and prowling. The children live in an architectural wonder of a house on a rocky promontory, with great windows and a fine outdoor staircase. The boy in his jeans and sneakers and the girl in her tastefully preteen flower-embroidered hoodie are the color of chai, and his picture book is patterned like a batik or Indian cotton print.

In the current run of titles about older siblings feeding younger ones, this one stands out for its inventive imagery and use of common kitchen implements. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-696-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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