Indeed, moths do deserve to be recognized, and this a good springboard.

NOT A BUTTERFLY ALPHABET BOOK

“It’s about time moths had their own book!”

Pallotta extends his many topical alphabet books (most recently The Crab Alphabet Book, illustrated by Tom Leonard, 2019) with this seeming rebuttal to the glut of butterfly books. Collaborator Bersani’s Prismacolor pencil and Photoshop illustrations are hands-down the stars here. Up-close pictures in brilliant, naturalistic colors and patterns dazzle the eye and will surely send readers out the door to hunt for some moth species. (The absence of a map and info about individual species’ ranges may hamper them, though.) Pallotta rounds out the single large-font sentence identifying the letter of the alphabet and the species (“G is for Green Lips Moth”) with a paragraph of information. These vary widely in both amount of information and relevance, many of them addressing moths in general rather than a specific moth. C (cow moth), for instance, talks about how most moths land (wings spread, as opposed to butterflies, which usually land with their wings folded), and D (diamond moth) makes a snarky comparison to a Delta Dart fighter jet. Though several pages talk about ways moths camouflage themselves, it’s not until the letter I that the term is used: “This yellow moth is camouflaged when sitting on a yellow flower.” Other entries teach readers about wing scales, anatomy, moths’ attraction to light, their life cycle, a bit about what they eat and what eats them, and a few other differences between moths and butterflies.

Indeed, moths do deserve to be recognized, and this a good springboard. (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-689-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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