A story of a girl, a cottage, and a family tradition that begs to be visited again and again.

THE LITTLE BLUE COTTAGE

Like a cottage quilt, rhythmic stanzas and vintage-style illustrations are stitched together with memories and love.

Lyrical, not-quite-rhyming text tells the simple yet touching story of a girl with brown skin and straight, black hair who visits a special blue cottage every summer with her interracial family. Shared activities (waterskiing, beach play, and cycling) and meals (pancakes) convey the closeness in this family. In the summer, the girl escapes the warm cottage to play on the beach; during torrential storms, she hides within the cottage walls, peering out at the high whitecaps. The cottage, serving as a secondary character, awaits the girl’s return each year, as well as the sights, sounds, and smells that accompany her visit. Alternating between vignettes and broad spreads, illustrations that recall the stylings of Virginia Lee Burton and Barbara Cooney have the texture and appearance of colored pencil. Muted earth tones dominate, and prints and patterns also adorn each thoughtfully composed spread, adding to the layered visual appeal of the book. Eventually the girl grows up and no longer visits, and the cottage falls into neglect, nearly disappearing into the surrounding vegetation. The book ends as it began, with a second multiracial generation returning to the little blue cottage, to restore its timeless splendor and build new memories.

A story of a girl, a cottage, and a family tradition that begs to be visited again and again. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62414-923-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity.

GOLDIE'S GUIDE TO GRANDCHILDING

While spending the day with Grandpa, young Goldie offers tips on the care and keeping of grandparents.

Though “loyal and loving,” Goldie’s grandfather proves to be quite a character. At Grandparents Day at school, his loud greeting and incessant flatulence are embarrassing, but Goldie is confident that he—and all grandparents—can be handled with the “right care and treatment.” The young narrator notes that playtime should involve the imagination rather than technology—“and NO video games. It’s just too much for them.” Goldie observes that grandparents “live on a diet of all the things your parents tell them are bad for them” but finds that Grandpa’s favorite fast-food restaurant does make for a great meal out. The narrator advises that it’s important for grandparents to get plenty of exercise; Grandpa’s favorite moves include “the Bump, the Hustle, and the Funky Chicken.” The first-person instruction and the artwork—drawn in a childlike scrawl—portray this grandfather in a funny, though unflattering, stereotypical light as he pulls quarters from Goldie’s ears, burps on command, and invites Goldie to pull his finger. Goldie’s grandfather seems out of touch with today’s more tech-savvy and health-oriented older people who are eager to participate with their grandchildren in contemporary activities. Though some grandparent readers may chuckle, kids may wonder how this mirrors their own relationships. Goldie and Grandpa are light-skinned; Goldie’s classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24932-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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