Jasper the Business Pig makes the sale with silliness and charm.

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BUSINESS PIG

A proactive piglet seeks a new home and sense of belonging.

Jasper, “a gen-u-wine Business Pig,” feels out of place at the Sunshine Sanctuary for Farm Animals. Unlike his siblings, he hates playing in mud puddles and rooting about for food. The other animals don’t appreciate his flair for flow charts. Although the farm volunteers try to support Jasper, he longs for adoption. Not a pig “to let life get him down for long,” Jasper puts himself out there to find the perfect home. In this playful story about staying true to oneself, surprising and expressive illustrations wittily expand on the narration. The contrast between suit-and-tie–wearing Jasper and the other farm animals captures the lighthearted tone of the story. While his siblings walk on four legs and dig with their snouts, Jasper stands upright and uses a shovel. A white girl adopts Jasper at the end, but the volunteer who names him has dark brown skin and Afro-textured hair. Zuill’s use of varied perspectives and layouts creates movement and adds liveliness to the pacing of the text. Speech bubbles within the illustrations inject character voice into the story without interrupting the rhythm. With the easy flow of the narration and the light sense of humor, this picture book is well-suited for storytime.

Jasper the Business Pig makes the sale with silliness and charm. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2684-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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