A lovely, beautifully illustrated story of a child’s dream fulfilled.

PUMA DREAMS

A young girl is fascinated by pumas, and after months of waiting and watching, she sees a puma near her home.

The unnamed narrator of the lyrically told story lives with her grandmother on a remote ranch in an unspecified location with mountains and canyons. The girl is fascinated with puma lore and legends, and her dream is to see a puma, even just once. She uses her allowance money to purchase a salt lick with hopes of luring a puma close enough for observation. After over a year of watching and dreaming, she finally sees a puma through the window as it circles the salt lick. The first-person story is told with evocative descriptions as the girl observes the environment around her with a dreamy, imaginative style enlivened by Gram’s pithy country sayings. An oversized format and expansive double-page–spread format showcase the striking, realistic illustrations done in a glowing, golden palette. The accomplished paintings capture the beauty of the natural surroundings and help create a real world for the rather lonely child. The girl and her grandmother present white. An author’s note offers more information about pumas as well as puma-conservation organizations, although exactly where pumas can be found in the U.S. is not made clear enough. The unlikely but real danger posed by pumas to humans is also not addressed.

A lovely, beautifully illustrated story of a child’s dream fulfilled. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2979-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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An adorable adventure in cartography.

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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