This gentle look at differences and acceptance might amuse some listeners, but it’s unlikely to inspire lasting interest.

DOLLOP AND MRS. FABULOUS

Rabbit sisters with differing interests find a way to enjoy playing together.

Dollop and Lili are wide-eyed, long-eared, anthropomorphic bunnies. Dollop, the younger sister, is “b-o-r-e-d” but perks up when she hears her sister talking in the next room. She dons a ninja costume, creeps across the room (hiding amusingly but not very effectively behind a number of small items), and discovers that Lili is planning a tea party. Initially pleased to be included, Dollop ducks out when she’s admonished for burping and bored by Lili’s idea of “polite conversation.” Lili, aka Mrs. Fabulous, perseveres but finds it’s not much fun to play tea party alone. Her turnabout is not entirely convincing, but it effectively unites the two sisters again. Sattler’s text is a mix of straightforward description of action and emotions, dialogue, and humorously earnest instruction from Lili. She offers variety in her characteristically child-friendly cartoon-style illustrations as well, moving from double-page spreads to single pages and vignettes as the action unfolds. Created in watercolor, pencil, colored pencil, and Photoshop, the bright and cheery pictures keep the focus on the two sisters, their toys, and their clothes. There’s plenty of white space, and most backgrounds are only lightly sketched. Unfortunately, neither text nor pictures make up for the slight and predictable plot.

This gentle look at differences and acceptance might amuse some listeners, but it’s unlikely to inspire lasting interest. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55335-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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