Lovely to look at, a pleasure to read aloud, and offering plenty of details to pore over, Trio’s story seems destined to...

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TRIO

THE TALE OF A THREE-LEGGED CAT

Despite having only three legs, Trio the cat lives a full, happy life.

Trio is born “different.” But different is definitely not less-than, as the narration points out. Trio may struggle at times, but in general, he can do what other kittens do: “pounce…sneak…[and] jump, whoops, well sort of!” Trio and his siblings share their home with a flock of chickens. Trio, in particular, enjoys emulating the chickens’ behavior, though he discovers that he does not like eating bugs. After figuring out how to climb up into the nesting boxes, Trio regularly makes himself at home. Then one day his cozy snoozing is interrupted by an unexpected event. Wisnewski’s astonishingly beautiful illustrations combine paper cutting, printing, and watercolor to bring Trio’s story to life. Her technique works particularly well for texture and shading, as seen on the flowers, fabrics, feathers, and fur. Trio, the other kittens, and Uno the chick are all utterly adorable, and the beady-eyed hens are equally appealing. The matter-of-fact tone of the text keeps the story from sounding sentimental, while gently humorous asides add to its charm. Simple declarative sentences have a pleasing rhythm and conversational tone, allowing the story to flow naturally.

Lovely to look at, a pleasure to read aloud, and offering plenty of details to pore over, Trio’s story seems destined to become a favorite for many families. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56792-608-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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