Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Children's Books About Donkeys!

Have you ever looked in the mirror and not liked what you saw? Did you ever wish that you were as attractive as one of your friends? I imagine, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us would answer yes to either/both of those questions. Donkey-Donkey has this exact problem. In the book Donkey-Donkey, we meet a donkey who is happy on a farm, well-fed, and has lots of friends. One day, however, he starts comparing his ears to those of his friend the horse. Donkey-Donkey wishes his ears were short, so he goes around asking all the other farm animals what he should do about it. Each animal gives him different advice. The dog says to wear his ears down. The sheep says to wear them to the side. The pig says to wear them over his face. An honest bird finally tells him to stop being ridiculous and accept the fact that he is a donkey and not any other type of animal and to wear his ears proudly like all other donkeys do. This is a straightforward book, with simple illustrations and an honest message. The pacing and story have a good clip and it teaches children (and adults reading it to them) to accept themselves for who they are.

Mikis and the Donkey is a roughly 100 page hardcover children's book. Mikis lives on the Greek island of Corfu. His life is pretty uneventful until his grandfather buys him a donkey. Mikis struggles to find a name for his jenny (female donkey) and finally, with the help of the donkey, settles on the name Tsaki. The grandparents intend for Tsaki to be a working animal, which isn't unreasonable at all, and that is how they treat him. Mikis, however, sees the animal as more than just a beast of burden. He treats the animal with great dignity and respect, and I would even go so far as to say that he sees Tsaki as his friend. Mikis' attitude towards Tsaki eventually convinces his grandparents and other people in the village to care for and treat all creatures with respect. This was a beautiful book with very short chapters, making it a perfect read-aloud book for your children.

These books were provided to me for free by New York Review Books and Eerdmans Publishing in exchange for honest reviews.