With its air of nighttime mystery, this is one that readers will want to revisit again and again

BEAR AND WOLF

A bear and a wolf share a wintertime idyll.

In the first double-page spread, readers look over the top of Bear’s head to a doglike figure in the middle distance, bare trees receding into the distance on either side to create depth. The following spread repeats the image, only from behind Wolf’s pointy-eared head. Bear explains that she is “out for a walk to feel the cold on my face, and to enjoy the quiet of the woods when it snows.” Likewise, Wolf is “out for a walk to feel the cold under my paws, and to listen to the crunching of the snow as I walk.” The two walk together, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest in winter, all evoked in quietly powerful sensory language. Readers who have met Salmieri through his illustrations for Adam Rubin’s hectic Dragons Love Tacos books may be surprised at the contemplative nature of this one. The use of gouache, watercolor, and crushed colored pencil gives his paintings a lovely soft texture, while the steady verticality of the trees and the consistent placement of text in a strip at the bottom of each spread lend them a feeling of calm serenity. The addition of pinks and purples to the grays and blues of a winter night chases away the bone-chilling cold.

With its air of nighttime mystery, this is one that readers will want to revisit again and again . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59270-238-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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