WALLACE’S LISTS

A budding friendship begins, grows, and blossoms between two most unlikely characters: a shy mouse named Wallace and a confident, lively neighbor named Albert. Wallace has a penchant for lists and lives his life in lock-step with all that is delineated and predictable. In contrast, Albert is creative and spontaneous, seizing any opportunity to take off on an uncharted course, “smelling the roses,” and enjoying painting, music, travel. Wallace does whatever is on his “to do” list, without deviation, whereas Albert welcomes the excitement of an adventure. An adventure according to Albert is anything that isn’t planned. Yet thanks to Albert, Wallace does discover a new joy. A departure from his list leads Wallace to a departure of another sort: a frantic trip to the airport to warn his friend of stormy weather. The trip is aborted, but not without the realization that life can bring unanticipated pleasure and friendship. Cartoon characters move through the story with vitality and humor a young reader will relish, and a parent strapped with the routine and mundane will appreciate. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-000224-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2004

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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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PANDA KISSES

When a young panda asks each of his parents for a kiss, they give him choices: “A soft kiss? / A sweet kiss? / A sticky bamboo treat kiss?” High or low, in the sun or the rain, from a bunny or a fish? In the end the young panda determines that “There are many kisses that will do! / But the best kiss is—from both of you!” A large font, rhythm and rhyme, picture clues and a low word count per page will help emergent readers succeed. Widdowson’s bright illustrations scatter Chinese elements throughout, adding international flair, and sprinkle other animals exchanging smooches for extra interest. A sweet treat to share with a beginning reader. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84562-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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