Oddly incongruent to the Kissing Hand (1993) premise—fans of the original will likely be perplexed, though it does present a...

CHESTER RACCOON AND THE ALMOST PERFECT SLEEPOVER

From the Kissing Hand series

Chester Raccoon faces a new childhood anxiety in the latest addition to the Kissing Hand series.

A sleepover at Pepper Opossum’s tree has Chester Raccoon excited. But it is not called an “overnight,” because these animals are nocturnal. Instead, Chester is going on an “overday.” (Sometimes wordplay can be more confusing than clever.) When Chester and his mother reach the Opossums’ tree, she places the requisite kiss in the palm of his hand, curls his fingers around it, and leaves him feeling safe and loved. The entire day is spent romping and playing as only woodland friends can—hanging by tails in trees, throwing darts made from porcupine quills and acorns, and splashing in the creek. The tale, punctuated by purple-colored “stinky puffs” from Sassafras Skunk, meanders realistically, until the creatures are tuckered out. When they all start yawning, everyone burrows in Pepper Opossum’s den to sleep. Everyone but Chester. Apparently, his mother’s Kissing Hand makes him feel safe, but it is not powerful enough to keep him from being homesick. Mrs. Opossum is kindly understanding, and a neighboring rabbit hops him back to his own hollow. An out-of-place poem muddles the end; it’s not a rhyme that will help kids address their own worries but, instead, simply a recap of the story.

Oddly incongruent to the Kissing Hand (1993) premise—fans of the original will likely be perplexed, though it does present a familiar childhood dilemma without shaming. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-939100-11-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 40

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

A hilarious autumnal comedy of errors.

THE LEAF THIEF

A confused squirrel overreacts to the falling autumn leaves.

Relaxing on a tree branch, Squirrel admires the red, gold, and orange leaves. Suddenly Squirrel screams, “One of my leaves is…MISSING!” Searching for the leaf, Squirrel tells Bird, “Someone stole my leaf!” Spying Mouse sailing in a leaf boat, Squirrel asks if Mouse stole the leaf. Mouse calmly replies in the negative. Bird reminds Squirrel it’s “perfectly normal to lose a leaf or two at this time of year.” Next morning Squirrel panics again, shrieking, “MORE LEAVES HAVE BEEN STOLEN!” Noticing Woodpecker arranging colorful leaves, Squirrel queries, “Are those my leaves?” Woodpecker tells Squirrel, “No.” Again, Bird assures Squirrel that no one’s taking the leaves and that the same thing happened last year, then encourages Squirrel to relax. Too wired to relax despite some yoga and a bath, the next day Squirrel cries “DISASTER” at the sight of bare branches. Frantic now, Squirrel becomes suspicious upon discovering Bird decorating with multicolored leaves. Is Bird the culprit? In response, Bird shows Squirrel the real Leaf Thief: the wind. Squirrel’s wildly dramatic, misguided, and hyperpossessive reaction to a routine seasonal event becomes a rib-tickling farce through clever use of varying type sizes and weights emphasizing his absurd verbal pronouncements as well as exaggerated, comic facial expressions and body language. Bold colors, arresting perspectives, and intense close-ups enhance Squirrel’s histrionics. Endnotes explain the science behind the phenomenon.

A hilarious autumnal comedy of errors. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-3520-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more