This will have young children thinking of their own comparisons for snow.

A THING CALLED SNOW

Two young friends have an adventure while learning what snow is.

Though it’s not necessarily sustained, the poetic opening sets the tone for the text: “Fox and Hare were born in the spring, / grew up in the summer, / and were the best of friends by autumn.” One day, Bird drops down and tells the friends they’ll soon be able to play in “this thing called snow,” but the two don’t know what that is. They set out to query Bear, Caribou, Salmon, and Goose. Each compares snow to something they already know: “Snow is white like your fur,” Bear tells them, or “fluffy like your tails,” according to Salmon. The day passes, and darkness lowers, and they are no closer to an answer or to home, so they curl up together…while gentle flakes fall around them. Bear and Caribou, who began to fear the friends were lost, discover them in the morning, and Fox and Hare delight in the snow as they lead the larger animals back home. Zommer’s collagelike illustrations are full of marvelous textures and details in the rich and realistic colors of nature, and the wildlife depicted is more lifelike than cartoon. The one oddity is that Zommer depicts both eyes of each animal even in profile, leading to some peculiar appearances, especially for Goose and Salmon. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This will have young children thinking of their own comparisons for snow. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-37788-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 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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