Here’s hoping that there are more kerfuffles and shenanigans in the future for this undeniably delightful duo.

PETEY AND PRU AND THE HULLABALOO

Quiet Petey and his devil spawn of a best friend indulge in a little chaos propelled by gleefully sesquipedalian writing.

Pru, a ginger-haired kid in a gray knit cap, carefully collects kitties on her way to her best friend Petey’s greenhouse. Inside, the serene chap is potting a little plant, happy in his tranquility. That bliss is upended when Pru, “feeling tricksy,” pierces the quiet with a caterwauling chorus of cats. Petey retaliates by inviting in a dog, but the inevitable anarchy is far more to Pru’s liking than Petey’s: “It’s a BROUHAHA!” They erupt into fisticuffs and find themselves falling to certain doom. Fortunately, they are saved at the last minute and make up with each other…until Pru feels another bout of mischief coming on. At every opportunity, Paquette works in a word or phrase that might be unfamiliar to her readership; these are helpfully set in bold type. Highlighted words include everything from “higgledy-piggledy” and “peeved” to “mayhem” and the fabulous “defenestration.” Rather than come off as jarring, these words blend seamlessly with the plot, aided in no small part by Ang’s pitch-perfect digital art. Even the endpapers do double duty as a glossary of the aforementioned terms.

Here’s hoping that there are more kerfuffles and shenanigans in the future for this undeniably delightful duo. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-544-03888-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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Hee haw.

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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