A good pick about caring for sharing.

THE POWER OF ONE

EVERY ACT OF KINDNESS COUNTS

Words and pictures work together to show how, one by one, we can make a difference.

Ludwig’s text doesn’t tell a story so much as it delivers the straightforward message that even small acts of kindness can have a big impact. The narrative takes root in Curato’s illustrations, which expand on the text to depict a diverse group of children and their interactions. An opening frontmatter scene shows a white-appearing child with blond hair and blue eyes shouting at another person (words are represented by scribbles in a speech balloon), who appears to be a child of color. On the facing page, a crowd of kids rendered in grayscale are oblivious to the interaction, with the exception of one child with East Asian features who stands out in full color. On ensuing pages, the child who was shouted at cries while the tormentor stalks away and the bystanding child offers comfort. This act of kindness spurs others that eventually include all of the children coming together in full color to create a garden. Even the first, shouting kid from the frontmatter reappears with a flower to apologize. The garden prompts interpretations both literal and metaphorical as the children sit down at a table shaped like the numeral one to feast.

A good pick about caring for sharing. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7158-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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