Hope for much more from Sandu.

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CHURCHILL'S TALE OF TAILS

What’s a proud piggy to do when his tail goes missing?

Churchill had one thing that he prized above all else: his tail. But one morning, he can’t find it. He looks everywhere, but he can’t find his squiggly tail. He just doesn’t feel like himself without it, so he goes to Zebra, who gives him a zebra tail. He likes it well enough, but he decides he needs to try other tails. Peacock’s makes Churchill feel beautiful. With the tail from a fish, he can suddenly swim like never before. He tries tails that make him feel snappy (alligator) and big (elephant) and fierce (tiger). But his fascination with tails causes him to ignore his friends. One night, Churchill sees the shadow of what he thinks is a fearsome creature, but it’s just a small bird…with a pig’s tail—his tail—on his head. With his tail returned, Churchill feels like himself again, and he throws a party to apologize to his neglected friends. Debut author-illustrator Sandu has crafted a fine addition to the piggy picture-book canon. The silly cartoon illustrations of Churchill with his various tails are sure to make toddlers giggle. And the tale’s themes of individuality, identity and forgiveness are nicely presented.

Hope for much more from Sandu. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-56145-738-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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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 lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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