Elegantly designed for young fans of ancient Egypt, this sweet ghost story of a pet’s love for its owner transcends time.

MUMMY CAT

“Deep within this maze of stone, / a creature wakes up, all alone.”

On this evening in Egypt, a cat that has been mummified and placed inside a pyramid awakens “for the first time in a hundred years.” Will he find what he is looking for? Ewert has created a compelling story that masterfully melds introductory information about the ancient Egyptian practice of mummification, its royalty, the people’s reverence of cats, and a look at hieroglyphics. As the cat explores the tomb, he fondly remembers his owner, Hatshepsut, and all they did together. Brown expertly employs a mix of media to create illustrations in a palette of soft browns with pops of blue, yellow, and orange hues. Paintings on the pyramid’s walls depict not only the cat and the queen’s relationship, but also the perils of being an Egyptian ruler. The mummy cat wanders, lonely. “This cold, golden coffin—is this all he gets? / Where is the girl he can never forget?” Readers will smile as the page turn reveals the mummy queen beginning to emerge from her sarcophagus. For those who would like to learn more, the backmatter includes succinct yet helpful notes on “Mummies, Cats, Queens, and Hieroglyphs.” A seek-and-find feature with sets of hieroglyphs invites further investigation as well.

Elegantly designed for young fans of ancient Egypt, this sweet ghost story of a pet’s love for its owner transcends time. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-34082-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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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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Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.

DOUBLE PUPPY TROUBLE

From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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