This lovely book about forgiveness shows that friendship can form even in the most unlikely situations.

A MYSTERY IN THE FOREST

From the Whispers in the Forest series

Deer, who has a talent for treats, tracks down a disruptive force in this Spanish import.

When his routine of collecting ingredients in the quietest part of the forest and turning them into sweet jams, cakes, and pies for a daily feast is disrupted, Deer must investigate. Who would be so rude as to run roughshod over the forest area where Deer goes every day, to break into Deer’s home, and, most egregiously, to take his Secret Recipe Book? The chef’s anxiety-inducing journey leads him to the home of Rabbit, who turns out to be a nervous, lonely creature. Even after Deer shouts at him, the pitiful rabbit still wishes he could bake like Deer so that “more people would come to see me. I thought I could be like you!” What happens next in Isern’s follow-up to The Lonely Mailman (2017) hinges on an act of kindness so perfect it would be a different kind of crime to spoil it here. As in Mailman, Montero Galán’s illustrations capture the lives of these anthropomorphic animals with warm, natural hues, whether it’s the darkening sky of sunset after a frustrating day or the winding path taken through all the neighbors’ homes by the aroma from Deer’s kitchen. Rabbit’s emotions, in particular, are heartbreaking as rendered, the huge orange eyes practically twitching off the page.

This lovely book about forgiveness shows that friendship can form even in the most unlikely situations. (recipe) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 97884-16733-92-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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