A lesson in sharing that goes down as easily as, well, cake.

I LOVE CAKE!

STARRING RABBIT, PORCUPINE, AND MOOSE

A pig of a moose learns how to make it up to his friends when he missteps.

Rabbit, Porcupine, and Moose are best friends who love to play together. Rabbit is good at being the boss, Porcupine is good at having fun, and Moose is just Moose (readers will quickly see that he’s a little sassy). On Rabbit’s birthday, all three are excited at the prospect of a party. But when Moose smells the cake baking, he follows his nose away from the festivities and into trouble with his friends. He denies it when they accuse him of eating all the cake, but a burp gives him away. He then tries to make light of what he’s done, but Rabbit (who’s “hopping mad”) and Porcupine (who’s getting “prickly”) won’t have it. Moose is left alone trying to figure out a way to make it up to them. His solution will not surprise readers, but it does surprise his friends, who at first have a hard time forgiving. And Moose seems to have learned his lesson: “I love cake! But… / I love sharing it with friends even more.” Rozelaar’s digital illustrations portray Moose as a big-eyed, rather bumbling goof (in a wildly patterned and colorful sweater) next to his more delicate (and hapless in the case of Porcupine) friends, setting up the story nicely.

A lesson in sharing that goes down as easily as, well, cake. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-227894-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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