Deeply satisfying.

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WOLF IN THE SNOW

A near-wordless story of kindness repaid.

As the book starts, readers see a dark-haired, light-skinned family starting their day. A girl in a red, hooded parka bids goodbye to her dog, and with snow beginning to come down, she’s off to school. As it happens, a wolf pack is also on the move. On her way home the snow has intensified. In a dramatic two-page spread the wolf pack can be seen walking in the girl’s direction, clouds of steamy air coming out of mouths filled with pointy teeth. As the girl trudges on, head lowered to the falling snow, and the wolf pack also trudges on, a wolf cub is left behind. Eventually, the girl and the scared, lost cub meet. Hearing the wolf pack howling in the distance, the girl takes the cub and, facing many perils, reunites cub and pack. Now exhausted and unable to move on, she collapses in the snow. The grateful pack returns favor for favor, and as its members surround and protect the girl, they howl in a call to her family, who has been out looking for her. The last page shows the family warm and safe back home. What distinguishes this book are the many feelings that Cordell’s pen-and-ink–with-watercolor illustrations capture so well—cold, fear, courage, exhaustion, relief—keeping readers hooked to the end.

Deeply satisfying. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-07636-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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