MOM PIE

Jonell’s (It’s My Birthday, Too!, 1999, etc.) latest adventure involving siblings Robbie and Christopher comically captures that classic conundrum: when moms are at their busiest, their children are at their neediest. As the imminent arrival of company looms, Mommy is in a frenzy of activity. Distraught after their offerings of assistance are summarily declined, Robbie laments to his brother that not even the tantalizing prospect of three different types of pie is worth the loss of their mom’s attention. Thus, Christopher devises a plan to create a “Mom Pie” a hodgepodge of items conveying the essence of mom. A helping of something soft, a pinch of something snuggly, a stray earring stirred in, and the addition of Mom’s perfume completes the recipe. When the pair proudly places their creation on the table, their mom is exasperated and baffled until the boys explain, “ ‘Mom pie is not good to eat . . . It is good to touch and smell.’ ‘And to snuggle with,’ said Robbie, ‘when you are too busy.’ ” Jonell’s sympathetic tale is on the mark; parents will appreciate the wry humor of the mother’s harried responses while the child-like prose aptly expresses a little one’s perspective. Mathers’s colorful, cartoon-like drawings are the perfect accompaniment. Framed vignettes highlight the action and the humor—hilarious glimpses of Mom frantically scurrying about, as reflected in a mirror or racing down the hall, are cleverly inserted into the illustrations. Poignant, but funny, this one is sure to resonate with readers, both adult and child. A touching and astute tale about keeping the important things in perspective for frazzled moms and their bewildered offspring. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23422-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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