BEA BY THE SEA

From the Child's Play Library series

Lion-loving Bea learns to appreciate spending time on the beach.

Bea, a small Black girl wearing her hair in a crown of small puffs, adores lions and thinks about them all day long. When her mother (who is also Black) decides they will spend a lovely day at the beach, Bea would rather stay home and play lions. She does not like sand, so she puts on her boots and hops from rock to rock to avoid it. But when she trips and falls in the sand, sending her lion book and lion toy flying, a large lion sand sculpture shows her how much fun it is to play in the sand. Bea and Sand Lion play together all day, and the next day Bea is ready to come back for more playtime. The tide has changed the beach scene, but Bea now knows what to do. Bea is a fun-loving, likable protagonist whose fears and dislikes are a part of her charm. Watching her obsession guide her into testing new territory is thoroughly satisfying, as is her change by the end of the story. Byatt’s expressive, motion-based illustrations, dominated by yellow and blue, make this a great read for the youngest of children. Readers will appreciate how Sand Lion’s mane resembles Bea’s hairstyle. The fact-filled endpapers are a clever way to offer detailed information about lions and about sand—an unusual but interesting combination.

Delightful. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78628-470-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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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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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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