Friendship trumps greed in this satisfying tale.

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PUSS & BOOTS

A resourceful feline comes to the aid of a shoemaker.

With no orders to work on, the poor shoemaker shares his last meager meal with his cat. The cat, however, has a better idea. With a brand new pair of stylish red boots on his own two feet, he sets out for the local monster’s castle deep in the dark woods. There, he proceeds to cater to the greedy monster, who “must have the right shoes to match whatever creature he turned himself into.” There are lace-ups for when he becomes a zebra, high boots for when he is a bear and clogs for his time as a baboon. The monster, however, does not care to pay for any of the footwear, so the cat has the shoemaker fashion a pair of the very finest and tiniest shoes, fit for a mouse. And the rest is the best sort of fairy-tale ending. Monster becomes mouse; mouse becomes a meal for cat—and the shoemaker, now busy at work in the castle, and his cat fare very well indeed. Imai skillfully blends elements of popular stories into a fresh, clean tale, abetted by translator Uchida and adapter Westerlund. Her sophisticated artwork uses linear design to great effect by highlighting size differences and perspectives. The muted palette of greens, browns and oranges lends a slightly mysterious air.

Friendship trumps greed in this satisfying tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-988-8240-71-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minedition

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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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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