One of the cutest tadpole-to-frog stories ever. (Picture book. 4-8)

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TAD

A tiny tadpole finally finds her frog legs.

Tad, depicted as an earnest yellow eye attached to a wiggly black tail, is “the smallest almost-a-frog in the whole wide pond.” She wriggles “twice as fast just to keep up” with her endearing tadsiblings, all of them bursting with expression even though they are all pretty much simple egg-shaped eyes with tails. But “she [is] strong and she [is] clever,” and she counts on these skills to keep her safe from Big Blub, a creepy greenish fish who’s reputed to feed on little tadpoles. “Tad [has] never seen Big Blub” and “decide[s] not to believe” in him, her smug smile turning anxious as she finds hiding spots, “just in case.” The tadpoles grow legs and lose their tails, and they positively thrum with youthful energy as they rejoice in their new bodies—“All except for Tad,” who stays bean-shaped and be-tailed. The number of Tad’s tadbrothers and tadsisters starts to dwindle, slowly and ominously, until she’s left all alone. The slow suspense, tapping into young children’s fear of abandonment, builds masterfully with joyous payoff in a final, vibrant spread after Tad skedaddles away from Big Blub in a riotous burst of limbs. Davies’ mostly muted palette is dominated by teal and algae green, enlivened with the tadpoles’ bright yellow, orange, blue, and purple eyes.

One of the cutest tadpole-to-frog stories ever. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-256359-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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