Uplifting, encouraging, and quite lovely.

BORN TO SPARKLE

A STORY ABOUT ACHIEVING YOUR DREAMS

Everyone has the capacity to sparkle.

Young readers are encouraged to live their dreams. They can choose to follow any path, to be anything they want; they need not set limits. Perhaps their aim is to be a doctor, dancer, teacher, or chef, and no matter how big their dreams are they can make it happen. But the author reminds readers that there is a very important caveat to consider. They must understand the difference between a wish and a dream. When you make a wish, the tendency is to sit back and wait to see if it will come true. Dreamers must work hard, practice, learn, and be brave, for it might be a long and difficult road. But it is all achievable. Bomgaars is tender with readers, never condescending, speaking directly in simple statements and providing examples and directions, all the while reminding them that their sparkle lives within them. Olczyk depicts the narrator as a stuffed toy animal wearing a green, leafy headdress and a swirly, fluffy pink boa. The listeners are a menagerie of stuffed animals, big eyed and paying rapt attention, sometimes in costumes that represent the professions of which they dream. There are sparkly stars floating through every page and some real glitter safely adhering to the jacket cover, though not on the case cover. The author, who has Down syndrome, is an activist, TV personality, and entrepreneur who is certainly living and achieving her dream.

Uplifting, encouraging, and quite lovely. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4867-2110-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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