A sweet book for budding musicians.

YOU CAN DO IT, NOISY NORA!

After hearing the beautiful notes of “Clair de lune” float down from her violinist neighbor’s window, little mouse Nora dreams of learning to play the violin herself.

With all the enthusiasm and determination a young child can muster, Nora takes her family to the music store, where they all suggest different instruments for her. Maybe a xylophone? Banjo? Anything but a “screeching violin!” opines big sister Kate. But Nora is dead set on a violin, so her excitement is palpable when her music teacher, Mrs. Yamamoto, shows up for her first lesson. As expected, there are a lot of twangs, shrieks, and whines to be heard before a tune begins to be found. But Nora has a goal in mind, so she keeps at it to meet her Sept. 1 deadline and surprise her family. The theme of practice and hard work paying off in the end, coupled with the support of a loving family (albeit with slightly annoyed siblings), makes this a lovely read with kids. With one significant and uncharacteristic hiccup, the rhyming text flows easily and in exactly the same pattern as Noisy Nora’s eponymous debut (1973), making it a solid read-aloud. It is full of bright, cheery, and funny illustrations in Wells’ familiar style, but her decision to dress Mrs. Yamamoto in a kimono has the unfortunate effect of exoticizing her in this otherwise Western setting.

A sweet book for budding musicians. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-99923-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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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See, hear, touch, taste, smell...and imagine poetry all around you.

KIYOSHI'S WALK

A neighborhood walk unleashes the power of poetry.

Kiyoshi, a boy of Japanese heritage, watches his poet grandfather, Eto, write a poem in calligraphy. Intrigued, Kiyoshi asks, “Where do poems come from?” So begins a meditative walk through their bustling neighborhood, in which Kiyoshi discovers how to use his senses, his power of observation, and his imagination to build a poem. After each scene, Eto jots down a quick poem that serves as both a creative activity and an instruction for Kiyoshi. Eventually Kiyoshi discovers his own poetic voice, and together the boy and his grandfather find poems all around them. Spare, precise prose is coupled with the haiku Kiyoshi and his grandfather create, building the story through each new scene to expand Kiyoshi’s understanding of the origin of poems. Sensory language, such as flicked, whooshed, peeked, and reeled, not only builds readers’ vocabulary, but also models the vitality and precision of creative writing. The illustrations are just as thoughtfully crafted. Precisely rendered, the artwork is soft, warm, and captivating, offering vastly different perspectives and diverse characters who make up an apparently North American neighborhood that feels both familiar and new for a boy discovering how to view the world the way a poet does. Earth tones, coupled with bright yellows, pinks, and greens, draw readers in and encourage them to linger over each spread. An author’s note provides additional information about haiku.

See, hear, touch, taste, smell...and imagine poetry all around you. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62014-958-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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