Another worthy book for the girl-inventor shelf.

MADE BY MAXINE

A clever girl finds a way for her goldfish to participate in her class’s pet parade.

Maxine loves her pet fish, Milton. She also “likes making new things…from old things.” Throughout, the quasi-collaged appearance of the digital art style seems right at home with Maxine’s activities. Spiro describes Maxine’s inventive efforts with such verbs as “tinkered” and “repurposed” as she makes Melvin “a spectacular tank” and “a pedal-powered fish-feeder.” But her pièce de résistance is inspired when her teacher informs the class that they will host a pet parade at school. How will legless Melvin join them? Determined to prove some less-than-charitable classmates wrong, Maxine creates a “FISHMOBILE PET PARADE FLOAT.” It’s not quite clear why the contraption needs to be so elaborate in order to solve the problem of how Melvin can join Maxine. Why not just put a lid on the fishbowl and place it on a wagon? But, her ultimate creation adds more fun to the story (and more verbs: “fixed and fiddled,” “up-cycled,” “de-constructed and re-constructed”), as do Spiro’s many humorous asides and Hatam’s joyful, expressive illustrations. Maxine presents white, and her classmates are diverse.

Another worthy book for the girl-inventor shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-18629-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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