BEES, SNAILS, & PEACOCK TAILS

PATTERNS & SHAPES...NATURALLY

Rhymes and stunning illustrations convey the patterns and shapes of birds, insects, spiders, a snail and one mammal (a mouse). Franco’s verses are lively, and Jenkins’s hand-made paper illustrations often highlight the shapes through the pictures and through the placement of text, as in the case of the circular shape of the puffer fish, the wedge of the geese and the spiral of the snail. Some of the words (e.g., kaleidoscopic, profound) will require elucidation for the intended audience, and the rhyming format limits the information that can be conveyed, although a section with additional background on each animal is appended. Despite the sketchiness of the information (the pattern or shape the ants make—is it a straight line?—is not clear, for example), this is a lovely book that will work well as a read-aloud, connect with the concepts of shapes and patterns that are frequently part of early childhood curriculum and provide a springboard for discussion. (Informational picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4169-0386-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2008

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Hee haw.

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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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MY LUCKY DAY

It’s become predictable, this story of the pig outfoxing the fox, but Kasza’s version does sport his lively art and a measure of dry humor. When a piglet comes knocking on Mr. Fox’s door, the fox can’t believe his luck; he’s not used to delivery service. The piglet is just about to be tucked in the oven, when he suggests a few improvements to Mr. Fox. Wouldn’t he taste better if he were washed first—“Just a thought, Mr. Fox”—and plumped up and perhaps massaged to tenderize the meat? The fox agrees that he would, rushing madly about scrubbing, feeding, and working the piglet’s tissues, and promptly falling into an exhausted swoon. The pig is last seen back in his pen, thumbing through his address book—Mr. Bear, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Coyote—getting ready to work the same ruse on another carnivore. Fun enough, though no self-respecting four-year-old will be very worried about this little porker’s fate. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23874-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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