Those with sensory issues or those attending school with them may learn from these kitties’ examples.


A sensory-sensitive kitty’s first day of kittygarten is a disaster, but after a break, she’s ready to try again, with some modifications.

Clover isn’t looking forward to kittygarten, and indeed, her first day is worse than she imagined. Salas’ word choices bring home to readers just how uncomfortable the situation is for Clover: “Sunshine glared”; “a bell…sounded like a GONG”; “Ms. Snappytail’s purrrrrfume stank.” Though readers will see the tender solicitations of Oliver as those of a perfect friend for someone with sensory issues, Clover is too distraught to notice. Her day ends with a (consequence-free) biting, spitting “hissy fit.” Clover stays home for the next three days; her mother doesn’t push. Oliver comes by twice, but Clover hides. It’s clear, though, that her desire for companionship will win out, and on Friday, armed with sunglasses, earmuffs, and her own mat for naptime, she returns to kittygarden. The day isn’t perfect, but by taking care of her specific needs, Clover survives with the help of her “calm, kind friend” Oliver. Readers and their caregivers will wish for backmatter that might provide additional guidance, whether for themselves or to help a friend, and it’s disappointing that Clover has no help in brainstorming solutions or getting through the school day. She seems very much on her own aside from Oliver, who is almost too good to be true.

Those with sensory issues or those attending school with them may learn from these kitties’ examples. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4246-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Hee haw.

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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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