For an unabashedly unsentimental laugh-out-loud tale that celebrates fathers’ loving, playful side—as well as their...

GIDDY-UP, DADDY!

In this hilarious romp, a daddy must call upon his stellar horsing-around abilities to guarantee a good time be had by all.

“Once there was a dad who was really good at playing horsey. Seriously, he was the best.” This first page of the book shows little brother and older sister perched on his back ready for adventure. One day, dad is outside practicing his jumps when a couple of sinister horse rustlers capture him. So begins the quest to find dad, rescue him and escape up north. Their journey takes them at a rapid pace to a rodeo, onto the tight rope in a circus tent, into the middle of a polo match, onto the racetrack during the Kentucky Derby and up the side of a Canadian mountain. During each part of their travels, Daddy makes sure to keep them safe since they are constantly just one step ahead of rustlers. With danger always lurking, the text has a lot of “but then”s spurring readers to quickly turn each page. Cummings dresses the thrilling tale with cartoony illustrations chock-full of zany details that kids will find appealing (but perhaps at times a bit frenetic). As one can guess, the kids save the day and their horsey daddy all in time for dinnertime at sunset.

For an unabashedly unsentimental laugh-out-loud tale that celebrates fathers’ loving, playful side—as well as their stamina—look no further. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-97856-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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DONOVAN'S BIG DAY

It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime.

ELBOW GREASE VS. MOTOZILLA

Who needs sanity when you’ve got family?

The title character of Elbow Grease (2018) and his family of Demolition Derby trucks return to face an all-new competitor. Once again, ’Bo is feeling inadequate next to his fan-favorite brothers. Despite Mel the Mechanic’s encouragement—he’s “the best at getting better”—he wants to be noticed. But instead, he notices someone unavoidable. Motozilla, the monster machine that turns trucks “into crunch sandwiches,” is currently undefeated. Trouble is, you’d need a truck with an array of skills to take him down. Thinking fast, ’Bo makes the wild and somewhat improbable suggestion that he and his brothers join together to form a single supertruck. Will it be enough to take down this bully? Quips, jests, and teamwork are the name of the game as pro wrestler Cena improves on his writing in this second outing, which demonstrates that individual glory falls in the face of concentrated cooperation. Rollicking, radical art portrays the battle in all its gritty glory, mud and twisted metal galore. Human crowds show a diverse range of races and genders, and the trucks’ keeper, Mel, has light-brown skin and wears glasses.

Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7353-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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