Wonderfully wacky.



Cockatoos and their toucan buddies (Cockatoo, Too, 2015) are once again the stars of a wacky adventure.

This time the silliness involves two toucans’ misinterpretation of the cockatoos’ intentions regarding two cans. Each of two cockatoos brings a can of food and a large cooking utensil to a wooden bowl sitting on the jungle floor. As they pour the food into the bowl, they spot the toucans, who hear them say “Toucans, too,” but think they said “Toucan stew.” Naturally the toucans run for their lives as the cockatoos give chase, trying desperately to clear up the misconception. Reassured, the toucans come back in a canoe with two cans of their own. Readers will need to watch out for the gnus as they start out across the water and come closer and closer with each development so they might share in the stew too. A very few words in various combinations are arranged, in large, widely spaced type, across double-page spreads on white backgrounds. The setting is filled with many shades of green, inviting blue water, and a softly clouded sky. The creatures express their emotions with changes in their eyes and beaks. The toucans appear especially demented as they put on the brakes when they visualize toucan stew. And then there are the cuckoos. The words twist, and the fun escalates.

Wonderfully wacky. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0421-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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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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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...


From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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