A powerfully, even divinely told slice of life.

WOUNDED FALCONS

The unfortunate wounding of a falcon strengthens the bonds between two young boys in Buitrago and Yockteng’s latest collaboration.

A falcon springs up from a tree branch, soaring amid blue skies and white clouds. The rock comes from below and strikes the falcon’s wing. The falcon falls to the ground below. Meanwhile, Adrián and Santiago walk away from a bad day at school. Adrián sports a black eye and a clenched fist, and Santiago, who “never has any problems,” offers companionship. The friends go to an abandoned lot, where Santiago reads and Adrián climbs a tree, from which he spots the injured falcon. Concerned, Adrián decides to nurse it back to health. At the dinner table, he asks for advice from his mom, who instead lets Adrián know that she’s heard about the bad day at school and his father “will give you what you deserve.” No luck there. Still, Adrián looks over the falcon, taking the bird to the “old man who cures bones” and feeding and caring for the bird with the help of his friend. Adrián’s time with the falcon stirs something in him, something that Santiago has known was in him all along: a big heart. In Amado’s translation, Mexico City–based Buitrago’s words maintain a detached aloofness, masquerading the story’s hints of darkness and brushes with pain in a straightforward yet lyrical tone. Overall, the text’s cinematic in scope but intimate in its compassion. Colombian illustrator Yockteng’s vivid artwork depicts a world in layers, with splatters of colors and intriguing details in the backgrounds that urge a second look. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A powerfully, even divinely told slice of life. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-456-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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