BEA ROCKS THE FLOCK

Tired of the repression inherent in the Rule of Sheepdom, “Sheep are not unique,” Bea does as she likes. But she can only stand the flock’s disapproval for so long before she decides to start a new life in the city. Although the city’s distinctive inhabitants impress her at first, Bea has trouble finding a place that is just right for her, until she wins the “Most Unique” award at a dog show. Recognizing that the Rule of Sheepdom might be wrong, she enthusiastically returns to the flock to encourage them to pursue their own one-of-a-kind talents. Jamieson’s message to “BEEEEEEEEEEEE yourself” is lightened by her riotously funny tongue-in-cheek acrylic illustrations. Bea’s backpack contents will have readers chuckling, as will her attempts at fitting in in the Big Apple. A bright spring palette makes the white sheep pop off the pages…even more so when they decide to show their true colors. Paired with the recent Sylvie by Jennifer Sattler (2009), this neatly addresses the issue of expressing yourself in the face of peer pressure. Who knew sheep had a wild side? (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59990-260-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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