In the tradition of humorous metafictive offerings of the past, this celebration of chaos is a veritable festival of fun.

READ REVIEW

WARNING: DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK!

Debut author Lehrhaupt and New York Times Notable Children’s Book illustrator Forsythe (My Name Is Elizabeth!, 2011) team up for a laugh-out-loud romp through monkey-infested pages.

From the title and the endpapers’ warning signs (“I guess you don’t mind being mauled by mo___s”) to the opening pages’ admonishments not to venture further, the narrator repeatedly warns readers not to open this book. Those who do not heed these pleas release a troop of artistic monkeys that wreak havoc on the book itself. Nothing is safe from these wild invaders—not the art and not the text. When the narrator again urges readers to turn back, toucans join the fracas. Forsythe uses the same warm palette for the toucans as the monkeys, adding a nice continuity to an otherwise strange addition that slows down this well-paced story. Before the toucans can do much, an alligator shows up, frightening everyone. With chaos reigning supreme, the narrator turns to readers for help in laying out a plan to snare the animals inside the book. Forsythe’s digitally rendered art is hilariously expressive and laugh-worthy in its own right, and it is well-paired with Lehrhaupt’s spare comic text, successfully creating a book that is enjoyable both to read and behold.

In the tradition of humorous metafictive offerings of the past, this celebration of chaos is a veritable festival of fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-3582-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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