TEN LITTLE LAMBS

In her debut picture book, McGinty depicts a slumber party that takes a sleepless turn in a comical counting rhyme. “Good night, little lambs. / Go to sleep,” says the mother to the children tucked in bed and counting sheep. The rumpus begins when she leaves: “Ten little lambs who won’t go to sleep. / What will they do all night? / They’ll tackle and tumble, and wrestle and rumble. / Ten little lambs all night.” Rendered in soft pastel hues, Sweet’s (The Sky’s the Limit, p. 266, etc.) busy watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations depict the children (who have turned into lambs) laughing, bouncing, and swinging from the bedpost in a raucous pillow fight. Encouraging participation, McGinty’s text remains essentially unchanged as the story counts down, except for the description of the lamb’s activity. To wit, “Six little lambs who won’t go to sleep. / What will they do all night? / They’ll plow winding freeways through piles of pj’s. / Six little lambs all night.” Sweet adds an important element to the narrative by placing the additional sleeping lambs in circles across the bottom of the page. The formula presents many mathematical possibilities, including comparing the number of lambs asleep and awake and calculating different combinations that total 10. It all adds up to good fun. And as a bonus, little ones who’ve yet to experience the irony of the slumber party will get solid training in the stay-awake-at-all-costs ritual. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2596-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2002

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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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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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