Visual stumble aside, each page lends itself to an energetic seek-and-find storytime that promises new discoveries upon...

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NO FROGS IN SCHOOL

Bartholomew’s love for his pets extends to the classroom, much to the dismay of his exasperated teacher, Mr. Patanoose.

Bartholomew can count a great many species of animals as pets: a goat, dogs, a snake, birds, fish, a spider—he has them all, and a few more in between. Each day of the week Bartholomew brings a different pet to school. On Monday, after he brings in Ferdinand the frog, Mr. Patanoose says, “No frogs in school.” So on Tuesday, Bartholomew brings in Sigfried the salamander—after all, a salamander is not a frog. Amphibians are then banned. On Wednesday Bartholomew brings in Horace the hamster (not an amphibian), leading to a no-rodents rule. Bartholomew continues skirting Mr. Patanoose’s rules until finally he decides to donate Rivka the rabbit to the class so that the adorable gray bunny can be everyone’s pet. This charming story uses repetition and humor to cleverly share information, as Bartholomew, a brown-skinned boy with black curly hair, uses his love for and knowledge of animals to find loopholes in Mr. Patanoose’s increasing list of rules. The cartoony illustrations are a colorful mix of watercolors abundant with vibrant yellows and pale greens. In the depiction of Bartholomew’s multicultural classroom is one notable misstep, as it includes a black girl with plaits sticking up all over her head, harkening unhappily back to the Little Rascals’ Buckwheat and other pickaninny stereotypes.

Visual stumble aside, each page lends itself to an energetic seek-and-find storytime that promises new discoveries upon multiple reads. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2698-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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