Nonetheless, fans will delight and pass the tissue, as the aviator-goggle–wearing panda pleases with most of his sneezes.


Gaiman and Rex return with Chu’s third picture book, sending the sneeze-happy panda cub to visit the surf and sand.

Big things happen when little Chu sneezes—especially at the beach. When Chu and his family first arrive, all is peachy. Chu’s mother sits and reads, while Chu’s father wades in the water. A bespectacled octopus offers Chu a refreshing ice cream cone to beat the heat. Soon Chu, decked out in a striped, retro-style full-body swimsuit, takes off his sunglasses. In the sunlight, his nose starts to tickle, a tickling that “fill[s] his whole head.” Fans of the Chu books will know what comes next and will sneeze right along with him. With the big deed done, the unthinkable happens. The sea is split, the waves stopping Exodus-like, and it’s up to Chu to sneeze again so he can save the stuck sea animals. Alas, sneezing on cue isn’t so easy. Rex’s comical and lively illustrations are enchanting gems. These include a family of merpandas, a gopher carrying his surfboard and chill amphibians sunning themselves. Chu’s charm and silliness abound throughout this sneezefest. However, his final ah-choo doesn’t provide the kind of satisfaction a just-expelled sneeze can give. That’s because Chu doesn’t come up with the solution himself.

Nonetheless, fans will delight and pass the tissue, as the aviator-goggle–wearing panda pleases with most of his sneezes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-222399-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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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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