A how-to manual in which a love of reading shines.

READ REVIEW

HOW TO CATCH A BEAR WHO LOVES TO READ

A young girl greatly wants to befriend a bear; she just needs to find one first.

Julia, a tot with a messy brown ponytail and one slouchy sock, loves to play outside. A ruddy (white) complexion and a bandaged knee confirm her nature-loving ways. While outdoors, she plays with many animal friends: hide-and-seek with Abigail the groundhog, tree-climbing with Scotty the squirrel, and, appropriately, farting contests with Frieda the skunk. But what Julia longs to do is play with a bear. A book that she is reading mentions a bear’s favorite snack: honey. She gets a large, sticky pot full of the treat and waits. But it attracts only Scotty. So then she tries a basket of blueberries. After returning from lunch, she finds large, blue paw prints and her book missing! This ursine-loving gal just may have found someone to have a “bearnormous” picnic with—and a reading buddy as well. A palette of greens and browns, with bright pops of yellow, freshens the somewhat pedestrian illustrations (although the bear’s cozy treetop library is quite enviable, and his spectacles are a nice touch).

A how-to manual in which a love of reading shines. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-924786-47-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CrackBoom! Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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