MARY AND THE MOUSE, THE MOUSE AND MARY

“Mary lived in a big house with a very little mouse.” And sure enough, the twain does meet. Captivating illustrations chronicle the parallel lives of Mary and the mouse as they grow up. They discover each other one day after dinner when Mary drops a fork and the mouse drops a spoon at the same time and they spot each other through the mouse hole. Every night from then on, they drop a utensil and wave to each other. Both girls grow up and move out and have daughters—who meet and share a similar friendship. The story by itself is understated and quiet, but the delight is in the details of the side-by-side and top-to-bottom panels: The mouse’s clothes emulate Mary’s; a human watch on a mouse wall becomes their clock and stools are made of thread spools. An ample-sized format allows McClintock’s fine-lined art to invigorate each bifurcated scene and embellish the miniature appeal of The Borrowers and the fashions of the decades from the 1950s into the hippie years. Cleverly designed, inventively enacted and charming from fork to finish. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-375-83609-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2007

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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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ROOM ON THE BROOM

Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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