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ESCAPE GOAT

Humorous, engaging illustrations support a slight but amusing tale.

The members of the Farmer family keep blaming their problems on their goat.

When the goat escapes from his pen, he gets into mischief—but is it he who tramples Mrs. Farmer’s petunias? Did the goat eat Andrew’s homework? Did he really knock over the paint can? Eat all the cupcakes for Archer’s birthday party? And how about the gum on Mr. Farmer’s seat? Mr. Farmer correctly observes that “Goats don’t chew gum.” Andrew retorts: “Escape Goat does.” It takes honest Nicolette to finally get to the truth. She has to shout: “You’re punishing the goat for things he didn’t do.” The other family members don’t want to admit their own foibles, but in a slapstick scene Andrew throws a ball that hits the water pitcher carried by Mrs. Farmer; the water spills onto Uncle Nathan, who’s carrying a basket of muffins; the muffins are hurled at Mr. Farmer who drops a huge salad. In the midst of this great ado, Nicolette sensibly points out the goat grazing nearby and says: “The goat didn’t do anything.” The story itself lacks real substance and the wordplay on “scapegoat” will almost certainly elude young readers, but they will get the visual jokes, made evident in Glasser’s exuberant ink-and-watercolor cartoons. The humans (white-presenting save Archer, who has beige skin), the animals, and the farm itself are delightfully represented.

Humorous, engaging illustrations support a slight but amusing tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-288339-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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ADDIE ANT GOES ON AN ADVENTURE

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade.

An ant explores her world.

Addie Ant’s ready for adventure. Despite some trepidation about leaving the Tomato Bed, where she lives with her aunt, she plucks up her courage and ventures forth across the garden to the far side of the shed. On her journey, she meets her pal Lewis Ladybug, who greets her warmly, points the way, and offers sage advice. When Addie arrives at her destination, she’s welcomed by lovely Beatrix Butterfly and enjoys an “ant-tastic” helping of watermelon. Beatrix also provides Addie with take-home treats and a map for the “Cricket Express,” which will take her straight home. Arriving at the terminal, Addie’s delighted to meet another friend, Cleo Cricket, whose carriage service returns Addie home in “two hops.” After eating a warm tomato soup dinner, Addie falls asleep and dreams of future exploits. Adorable though not terribly original, this story brims with sensuous pleasures, both textual and visual. Kids who declare that they dislike fruits or veggies may find their mouths watering at the mentions and sights of luscious tomatoes, peas, beans, watermelons, berries, and other foodstuffs; insect-averse readers may likewise think differently after encountering these convivial, wide-eyed characters. And those flowers and herbs everywhere! The highlights are the colors that burst from the pages. Addie’s an endearing, empowering character who reassures children they’ll be able to take those first independent steps successfully.

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade. (author’s note about ants) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781797228914

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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