Sensitive bedtime winner guaranteed to enchant drowsy kids

READ REVIEW

CRICKET SONG

Sleeping children on different sides of the ocean are linked by nature’s sounds.

The sun moves west, and an evening breeze “carries the song of crickets” to a sleeping child. Outside, cricket song merges with the “kreck” of frogs and the “poorwill!” of a bird listening for a fox’s woodland footsteps. While the fox sniffs rabbit’s field burrow, she listens to owl’s “hoo” over the ocean, where “sea otters doze” in the bay and whales sing “deep in the sea.” The same breeze draws fishermen to another shore. Here, parakeets “scrawk” in a palm tree growing in the yard of a girl sleeping while crickets sing outside the window. The sonorous text, laced with soothing onomatopoeic animal sounds, transports wee listeners from the bedroom of one sleeping child to that of another. Soporific illustrations in pen, ink, and watercolor realistically capture nature’s creatures in the muted hues of dusk, while deft use of crosshatching suggests nightfall’s atmospheric shadows. The double-page spreads progress from bedroom to yard to woods to fields to shore to ocean and finally to another shore and a different bedroom. A panoramic border at the foot of each spread holistically spans both coasts, transitioning from temperate to tropical worlds as each new page turn reveals minute visual changes reflecting the text.

Sensitive bedtime winner guaranteed to enchant drowsy kids . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-58259-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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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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