What is “Found” now? A community, that’s what.

LOST. FOUND.

Just two words (and many amusing sound effects) form the text of this visually driven story about conflict resolution, resourcefulness, community—and a red scarf.

When a bear loses its red scarf on a blustery day, two raccoons find it and engage in a tug of war. Then one raccoon hits the other with a snowball in retribution, and they both abandon the scarf and take off after each other. The scarf is once again “Lost,” only to be “Found” again in short order by an industrious beaver who wears it like a turban. Alas, when the scarf snags on a branch overhead (it is a very tall turban), the scarf is yet again “Lost.” And so continues the story, with Cordell’s humorous illustrations depicting various animals finding and losing the scarf until they all come together at book’s end with a pile of yarn at their feet. The scarf is ruined, but all is not lost: the animals gather up the yarn, and the bear begins to knit. Then the beaver lends a hand while the other animals sip hot beverages provided by the bear, and by the final page, the scarf is whole again. In a happy bit of artistic license, it’s now long enough for the animals to share as they sit around a cozy campfire.

What is “Found” now? A community, that’s what. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-017-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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