CAN I PLAY TOO?

From the Elephant & Piggie series

The latest Elephant and Piggie book displays all the snappy pacing and wry humor readers have come to expect of the Geisel Medal–winning series, with a valuable lesson in friendship and flexibility tucked inside. Gerald and Piggie decide to play catch, but when Snake slithers up asking to play too, they are a bit dubious. “You do not want to play with me?” Snake asks sadly. “No!” exclaims Gerald. “We do want to play with you. / But...” “We are playing catch,” Piggie explains. “With our arms,” Gerald elaborates. “So?” says Snake. This awkward moment resolves with the three friends trying to play catch, with predictable results (“BONK!”). More balls (“BONK! BONK! BONK! BONK!...”) isn’t the answer, but then Piggie has an idea (illustrated by a compact fluorescent light bulb) that provides the ideal solution. Page turns and placement of speech bubbles are customarily flawless, yielding multiple guffaws, but this story also provides much-needed guidance to kids who are navigating the etiquette minefield of friendship among peers of differing abilities. Brilliantly subtle and spot-on. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 8, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-1991-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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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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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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