Please, let there be more adventures of Mac and Cheese, the Felix and Oscar of the early-reader world.

MAC AND CHEESE AND THE PERFECT PLAN

From the Mac and Cheese series

In this offering for emerging readers, Mac and Cheese, two cat friends, prove that opposites attract, even in the feline world.

Cheese, a grumpy marmalade tabby, would rather sleep on his trashcan than join Mac for a day at the sea. The day is hot, the bus will be by soon and the only thing standing between the cats and the beach is a little preparation. Despite Mac’s encouraging song (or perhaps because of it), Cheese does not want to go. When Mac agrees to stop singing, Cheese relents, sort of. Insisting a trip to the beach includes packing just about everything (food, clothing, toys, books, a boat), Cheese slows the process until the bus heads down the road and the friends are left behind. Though Mac’s little song (“Please, Cheese, please, / Come to the sea, / Come to the sea, Cheese, / Please with me”) does not trip easily off the tongue, the rest of the text is rhythmic, at times pleasantly reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, making it easy to read. Humorous watercolor illustrations, including full- and double-page spreads and such little details as allowing the whiskers and eyebrows to reflect feline feelings make this one new reader that will be eagerly read over and over.

Please, let there be more adventures of Mac and Cheese, the Felix and Oscar of the early-reader world. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-117082-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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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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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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