Highly—and proudly—recommended.

PRIDE PUPPY!

LGBTQIA + ABC + dog = fun!

This queer-centric alphabet book follows a young light-brown–skinned protagonist of ambiguous gender, their moms (an interracial couple), baby sibling, and rambunctious dog as they get ready to head off to a Pride parade. Disaster looms, however, when a tumble leads to a loose dog and a chase through the parade to reunite the four-legged member of the family with its bipedal owners. Each page introduces the next letter of the alphabet, advancing the story and along the way offering a plethora of vocabulary words (sometimes in print, sometimes in illustrations—a concluding search-and-find word list will send readers back through the book). While the story is sweet, the illustrations are the real stars of the show, depicting realistic characters and a crowd that is diverse in age, skin tone, racial presentation, size and shape, ability, and body modification. The cartoon illustrations are highly detailed, which may make the book challenging for large-group storytimes, but it will keep lap-readers invested as they pore over the characters, designs, and background actions. The only thing missing is a flag identification guide to help caregivers identify the variety of identities found and supported within the book. That quibble aside, the book is sheer delight and will be a welcome addition to shelves everywhere.

Highly—and proudly—recommended. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2484-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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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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