Inquisitive, informed and lyrical; an intriguing extension to hibernation classics.

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EAT LIKE A BEAR

With a subject not quite as underappreciated as their previous book’s (Vulture View, 2007) but giving it just as stunning treatment, Sayre and Jenkins follow a bear’s eating habits throughout the year.

A grizzled, lumbering bear wakes up in the springtime. What is there to eat? The bear sniffs the air. Crunches a few dandelions. Pause. “With long, strong claws, / dig in. Dig down. / Paw and claw and pull. / Find … // … ants! / Chew them, / sour and squirming. / Lick your lips.” As the months go by, bears eat many different types of food. Often thought to be powerful, top-of-the-food-chain predators, bears find that delicate berries and pine cones are tasty treats too. Sayre does not shy away from the carnivorous meals, but gruesome details happen off the page. Jenkins creates incredible scenery full of majestic mountains, crisp streams and a sublimely textured bear. (The bear’s fuzzy coat is created with handmade fig-bark paper—a fruit, which given the opportunity, a bear would likely love to munch!) Key food-finding action words such as drink, search, forage, hunt, gather and eat lead up to perhaps the most important one of all: prepare. The bear, full from months of feasting, settles down into a warm, cozy den.

Inquisitive, informed and lyrical; an intriguing extension to hibernation classics. (appended facts, author’s note) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9039-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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