Humorous, action-packed pictures combine with terse text to create an engaging cautionary tale about greed.

READ REVIEW

IT'S MY SAUSAGE

Five hungry cats vie for one “yummy, scrummy sausage.”

With a limited autumnal color palette, the cats and the owner’s home are realized in rough but expressive fashion. The text is short, with many onomatopoeic sounds and easy words enabling children to read much of it themselves. The five cats are distinct in color and variously accessorized, allowing readers to distinguish them and assign gender as they choose. The plot essentially consists of the golden-haired cat’s titular assertion of ownership and defense of the meat product as each of the other four attempts to steal it in various slapstick schemes. Astute viewers will notice a spotted, brown shape in the corner of a scene showing a living-room floor littered with mouse traps and Lego blocks with yarn tangled all about. These are all booby traps for the four cats trying to steal the sausage, wrapped with a small string, from under its protective dome. The black cat springs into action, makes it through the minefield, and almost gets the sausage only to have it yanked away by the gold cat once again. The greedy kitty prepares to gobble the treat down but is stormed by the others, causing the sausage to bounce out of the cat’s mouth and go right in the open mouth of—a large brown, spotted dog.

Humorous, action-packed pictures combine with terse text to create an engaging cautionary tale about greed. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84886-473-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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Aims high but just doesn’t get there.

LITTLE FOX AND THE WILD IMAGINATION

Beware the imagination that cannot be contained.

When Poppa Fox comes to pick his son up after school he finds Little Fox a complete grump. Happily, Poppa Fox knows just the way to perk up his kiddo. One minute they’re pretending to be race cars, the next they’re dinos on the bus, and then later they’re blasting off to outer space to grab some ice cream. Unfortunately, all that sugar before dinner means that Little Fox’s imagination is now primed to go haywire. Now he’s a robo squid destroying a broccoli forest (rather than eating his dinner), then a shark devouring his dad, who is driving a mail truck (that is, splashing way too much in the tub). Things calm down by bedtime, but when Poppa Fox tells his son he will pick him up again the next day, Little Fox already has big plans. As books built on the power of imagination go, this story starts out strong but loses steam about the time Little Fox loses his focus. Santat’s art does more than its fair share of the heavy lifting, particularly when Little Fox’s imagination is supposed to go off the rails. Madcap adventure never looked this fun. Yet the book can’t quite nail the landing, shifting tone from one page turn to the next, leaving readers ultimately unsatisfied. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 33.8% of actual size.)

Aims high but just doesn’t get there. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21250-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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