A delightful dip into reading.

HIDE!

From the I Like To Read series

A fish jumps out of their fishbowl and into the ocean and (almost) ends up eaten!

The story starts above water with an elephant and a fish in a boat. The elephant, Mike, naps. But the fish, Pat, takes a dive into bigger waters and sees other fish. Pat swims deeper and deeper and sees more and more marine life, including eels, coral, shellfish. The coastal collective rejoices—some even swim in circles—until a shark bursts onto the scene. A crab sounds the titular alarm—“Hide!”—sending all the smaller creatures into the nearest ocean nook or cranny. Everyone, that is, except Pat. Pat cries out “Help me!” just as the shark’s jaws are about to clamp down. Fortunately, their elephant buddy, Mike, comically sinks down and lands on the shark, saving the day. The fish, in appreciation, lift the heavy elephant back to the surface. Told mostly through narrative text of sentences of five words or less, this entry in the I Like to Read series shares its companions’ generous trim size. Some dialogue is conveyed via speech bubbles, and a larger font is used to convey emotion. In fewer than 30 words, Henry creates a bright, cheerful ocean world. The characters are expressive and inviting—even the scary shark is depicted smiling. The art, created using ink and paint, is boldly outlined and set against simple, gradated backgrounds.

A delightful dip into reading. (Early reader. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3773-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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