A droll, nonthreatening tale of bullying in the guise of a modern fable.

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LION VS. RABBIT

Lion’s a real bully, but he may have met his match when wily Rabbit takes him on.

Tired of Lion’s bullying but not brave enough to confront him, all the animals advertise for someone to “make Lion stop bullying us.” A bear, a moose and a tiger respond, but Lion quickly defeats each. When Rabbit arrives, Lion’s confident he’ll win and tells Rabbit to pick the contest, so Rabbit chooses a marshmallow-eating competition and wins. Disgruntled, Lion complains he was sick, so Rabbit offers a quiz contest. Rabbit wins this, as well as hopping and painting competitions, but as Lion always has some excuse for losing, Rabbit tells him to choose a final competition. Knowing he’s faster, stronger and a better climber, Lion suggests a race to the top of the mountain, but no matter how fast Lion runs, clever Rabbit always seems to get ahead. Precise, digitized pencil illustrations utilize simple lines, patterns and colors to highlight Lion’s mean and silly bullying antics, his prowess in competitions against the bear, moose and tiger, and his humiliating defeats against wily Rabbit. Readers with sharp eyes will be rewarded with numerous amusing visual details, including hidden hints about how Rabbit outwits Lion.

A droll, nonthreatening tale of bullying in the guise of a modern fable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-709-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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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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