A basic introduction to the environmental hazards that endanger whales.

LITTLE WHALE IN DEEP TROUBLE

A STORY INSPIRED BY A TRUE EVENT

A young whale finds himself in jeopardy.

Oscar, a young whale, lives with his mother deep in the ocean, surrounded by all sorts of different animals. He always feels safe—until the day he gets trapped in an abandoned scrap of fishing net. Separated from his mother and initially unable to move, he rises for air and is freed by some divers, the likes of which he’s never seen before. After a “dance” for his rescuers, he is joyfully reunited with his mother. Based on a true story, this well-intentioned tale includes some facts about humpback whales and some of the perils they face from pollution as well as hunting. The focus here is educational rather than artistic; it appears that young readers and listeners are meant to attend to the plot and lesson rather than a gracefully told story; the language is sometimes clumsy, while the artwork is pleasant but not particularly artful. The consistent, nonstandard capitalization of “Mama” regardless of context (“Where is his Mama?”) gives the text an amateurish feel. Still the book’s focus on the plight of whales may make it helpful in the classroom as a supporting resource, though it stops short of providing children with concrete measures that may encourage recycling or activism.

A basic introduction to the environmental hazards that endanger whales. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7641-6851-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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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