A book to be shared, savored, and discussed.

GILDA THE GIANT SHEEP

Gilda is a giant sheep who produces so much wool and milk that the 20 shepherds in charge of her are tired. When they decide to sell her for mutton, Gilda runs away. Where will Gilda find a new home?

As Gilda runs away she wonders about the ungrateful shepherds who would turn her into mutton stew: “Is it too much to ask for a sheep to grow old in peace?” Eventually, Gilda arrives in a city vaguely resembling New York City. A dramatic two-page spread shows a panicked Gilda almost as tall as the buildings, running down the street as the pedestrians snap photos on their smartphones. Clearly, the city is not home. A circus, with its caged and sad-looking animals, is not home either. When Gilda overcomes her fear of water to rescue a drowning (regular-sized) sheep, the grateful ovine takes her home. There she finds friendship, purpose (in scaring the wolves away), and, most importantly, a home. Spanish author/illustrator Urberuaga's pictures are as multilayered as his story, conveying many emotions with a few deceptively simple lines. First published in Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands 25 years ago, the tale is now being published in the United States, in both English and Spanish, for the first time, with updated illustrations that depict multiracial if tiny humans in the backgrounds. The translated English edition is just as delightful as the Spanish version.

A book to be shared, savored, and discussed. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-84-17123-24-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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