Nicely crafted comedy—and the Blobfish gets his wish.

BLOBFISH THROWS A PARTY

Pity poor Blobfish, a bottom-dweller who goes without light, friends, and, forsooth, delicious treats. Time for a “DEEP–SEA PARTY!”

Blobfish is aptly named: he’s got a beezer like a potato, a red-lipsticked frown, a sickly pink pallor. Blobfish has the blues. But our protagonist has pluck. He shouts out that he’s throwing a “DEEP–SEA PARTY! BRING A TREAT TO SHARE!” The sound waves make it to the mermaids, who hear “Cheap, free party! Sling on a sheet to wear.” Yes, it’s a game of Telephone, and this telephone is broken. The dancers hear: “Be really arty! Swing your feet in the air!” The kids outside hear: “Be a smarty! Fling your UNDERWEAR!” Yeah, well, OK—underwear—but that underwear just happens to foil the attack by candy-seeking extraterrestrials in a flying saucer. Then everyone retraces the Telephone call until they find Blobfish, still down in the friendless, treatless dark…but nevermore. Caton keeps the spirited artwork in concatenation with the crazy pleasure of Paul’s chain of transformations. The participants are an entirely natural mix of black, brown, white, boy, girl, and lots of animals of indeterminate gender and ethnicity but great variety. The whole package feels nicely wrapped, the wrapping doesn’t try to get fancy, and the package isn’t too big or small. Pleasingly proportional.

Nicely crafted comedy—and the Blobfish gets his wish. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0422-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

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 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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