When a buffalo hits a drum, the drum goes SCASH! It’s such an endearing sound that the buffalo turns cross-eyed with glee....

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TEACH YOUR BUFFALO TO PLAY DRUMS

Buffaloes are always funny, which makes them unlikely subjects for a self-help book.

When a buffalo hits a drum, the drum goes SCASH! It’s such an endearing sound that the buffalo turns cross-eyed with glee. (Jennewein’s soft-edged drawings of a goggle-eyed buffalo are hilarious.) Still, some people may be nervous about teaching their buffalo to play the drums, so Vernick has provided an instruction manual. Very reluctant buffaloes may need the drumsticks handed to them or even tied to their hooves with yarn. They may need cheering on. Some readers might suspect that this is a metaphor for child-rearing, and a few may even think the book is aimed at parents. The Electric Company had Paul the gorilla for comic relief. This book has a buffalo, a xylophone, juggling and heart-shaped sunglasses, and yet it still feels educational. Sample lines: “Don’t let your buffalo get frustrated! Cheer him on! Encourage him!” At times, this instruction manual feels more like, well, an instruction manual than a gag.

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-176253-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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