Children may not recognize themselves herein, but their caregivers will see their little monkeys.

THREE LITTLE MONKEYS

Hilda Snibbs cares for Tim, Sam, and Lulu, three lively monkeys.

One morning the well-turned-out white woman leaves her elegant home to buy bananas. The simian siblings grow bored, so they look in the hall closet for something to play with, and they find umbrellas, shoes and boots, and fancy hats. “When Hilda came home she found the most dreadful mess.” She tells them how disappointed she is; they just stare with their big, round eyes. When she goes to buy a hat the next day, the living room is the scene of the next mess. There is a shopping trip for wool the following day, and the kitchen falls prey. The next day, it’s the bathroom. Hilda warns them sternly before she leaves to visit her sick mother. She returns to a clean house. Oh no! Where can the monkeys be? Weeping, Hilda goes to the closet for a dry hanky—and finds her charges. That night she finds her bed full of silverware and tinned sardines. “But that is the sort of thing you have to expect if you have three little monkeys.” British illustrator Blake here supplies the words for Chichester Clark, his former student at the Royal College of Art. The duo’s first outing together is a charming story of patient devotion. Chichester Clark’s bright and lively mixed-media illustrations are full of patterns, detail, and adorable, mischievous monkeys.

Children may not recognize themselves herein, but their caregivers will see their little monkeys. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-267067-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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