FROG AND TOAD ALL YEAR

Lobel's peerless, though much imitated, animal comrades do a little borrowing of their own here when Frog goes around the corner to look for spring, recalling Clifton's Boy Who Didn't Believe in Spring (1973); in this case we can't consider Lobel's more conventional rustic setting an improvement, but Frog does make the search his own. In fall Frog and Toad rake each other's leaves for a surprise, but the wind undoes the jobs before either is aware of the other's favor; elsewhere the friendship seems to have settled down to a kind of mellow harmony. In the winter Toad, riding in front, does a fine job of steering a sled until he realizes that the more experienced Frog has fallen off; in summer he becomes covered with such a mess of sticks and leaves, stuck to the two ice cream cones that have melted all over him, that he scares off everyone but Frog, who recognizes him under the gunk; and at Christmas he worries when his friend is late to dinner, until Frog shows up with a gift. We miss some of the resonant psychological heft of this pair's previous experiences, but Frog and Toad can still transform the most ordinary seasonal activities into celebrations.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1976

ISBN: 0064440591

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1976

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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