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HOW TO KNIT A MONSTER

For those who enjoy seeing their beasts appear and disappear (and appear)

Sometimes knitting can be monstrously adventuresome.

White goat Greta loves to knit. One day, she decides to move beyond her usual repertoire of socks and fashions one small knitted goat and then several more to keep each other company. Unfortunately, “mean Mrs. Sheep” enters and criticizes Greta’s craftsmanship. Angry, Greta stops paying attention to her knits and purls, her work grows to great lengths, and what should appear but a wolf who scares off the goats. He then “gobbles up Mrs. Sheep, wool and all,” and frightens Greta into a closet. Greta quickly crafts a ferocious-looking tiger who gobbles up the wolf. Not satisfied, the tiger wants some goat, too. Greta responds to this threat by creating a very big “MONSTER” who swallows up the tiger. But Greta is a smart knitter. She does not bind off her last stitch and proceeds to unravel her last creation, “riffle raffle riffle raffle whoosh.” All ends well for the gobbled-up animals, and Greta resumes her knitting—but does not pay careful attention to the green yarn on her needles. (Think toothy and crawly.) The story, told in the present tense, is well-paced and laced with onomatopoeia, and van Haeringen’s India ink, watercolor, and colored pencil illustrations are lively and amusing, especially when set against a white background. Greta keeps a smiling face even when dwarfed by her fearsome menagerie.

For those who enjoy seeing their beasts appear and disappear (and appear) . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-84210-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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