SUNDAY CHUTNEY

An energetic, frizzy-haired girl claims her quirkiness but wrestles with her family’s frequent moves. “I’m a bit unusual,” Sunday introduces herself to readers, skipping rope along a hopscotch grid while blowing a pink bubble. Her smile and airborne posture connote confidence, which helps at every new school. Imagination counters her isolation, turning an empty table into an Alice in Wonderland homage and a lonely field (other children seen together, in the distance) into companionable hand-swinging with a life-size elephant and bear. But feelings of ambivalence hover. Sunday’s proud of her career ambitions (fashion design featuring scuba flippers? soccer? space travel?) and skill at befriending girls, but the constant relocations upset her, no matter how “wonderfully glamorous” she calls her mobile life. Is this defensiveness, as it sounds like when she says, “boys smell, have germs, and probably love me,” or true mixed feelings? Blabey doesn’t answer that question, but his clear acrylics and mixed media ground Sunday’s excitements and worries—shown in extreme, sometimes manic, facial expressions—on soft, solid, comforting backgrounds. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59078-597-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Front Street/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2009

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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