A delicious cooking adventure that storytimers will love like anything.

THE COOK AND THE KING

Donaldson and Roberts cook up a treat for young readers.

After yet another soggy pizza from a box, the king decides he needs a cook “like anything.” He “trie[s] out lots and lots of cooks” and decides on Wobbly Bob, who looks the part but has “feet that [shuffle] and hands that [shake]” and admits to being “a bit of a wimp.” Wobbly Bob may well turn out to be more royal disaster than royal cook. The king fancies a supper of fish and chips, but Wobbly Bob is scared of everything—fishing, digging the spuds, chopping, and frying. “I’m scared! I’m scared! I’m terribly scared,” is Wobbly Bob’s constant refrain, but the cheerful king helps every step of the way. “He fished and he fished like anything”; “he dug and he dug like anything”; “he chopped and he chopped like anything.” In fact, the king does all of the work and congratulates Wobbly Bob for the “delicious dish,” which they sit down and eat together. Donaldson’s lively rhyming text, tailor-made for reading aloud, is nicely complemented by Roberts’ colorful illustrations—strong on facial expressions that add to the story so that no explanation is needed when Wobbly Bob looks quizzical when the king congratulates him on his “great cooking” and gives him the job. Complexions in this medieval European–esque kingdom vary from pale to ruddy.

A delicious cooking adventure that storytimers will love like anything. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3757-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Inspiring, if all these pinkie promises don’t get in the way.

PINKIE PROMISES

Lately, everyone seems intent on telling Polly what girls can’t do.

Whether it’s fixing a leak, building a model drawbridge, or washing a car, it seems like the world thinks that girls aren’t able to do anything. Polly is discouraged until she goes to a political rally with her mother. There, the two meet a White woman named Elizabeth (recognizably author Warren in Chua’s friendly illustrations) who’s running for president. She tells Polly that she is running because that’s what girls do: They lead. Polly and Elizabeth make a pinky promise to remember this truth. Polly decides that being a girl can’t prevent her from doing whatever she wants. Even though she’s a bit intimidated at attending a brand-new school, Polly decides to be brave—because that’s what girls do, and she makes a pinkie promise with her mom. At soccer, she’s under pressure to score the winning goal. She makes a pinkie promise with her coach to do her best, because that’s what girls do. And so on. By the end of the book, Polly ignores what she’s been told that girls can’t do and totally focuses on what they can do: absolutely anything they want. In the illustrations, Polly and her family have dark skin and straight, dark hair. The narrative is inspiring and child friendly, although the constant return to making pinkie promises feels like a distraction from the central message. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Inspiring, if all these pinkie promises don’t get in the way. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-80102-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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