A high-volume victory for compassion.

CHEETAH CAN'T LOSE

Loudmouth speedster Cheetah is sure that race day will be a walkover, but two clever little cats have other ideas.

Much like Shea’s little red roaring dinosaur (Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, 2008, etc.), for all that he’s bigger than anyone and kitted out in a tracksuit, Cheetah obnoxiously announces at the outset that he’s winning every race. Not only do his jokes fall flat—“Oh boy! If you guys had pajamas, I would be them! Because I’m the cat’s pajamas—get it? Never mind”—but so does he after scarfing down five pies in a preliminary pie-eating “race” and the huge sundae that his smiling feline competitors present as a reward; they also award him boxes for his feet and a too-big crown to cover his eyes as “prizes” in other events before the main race. Shea cranks up the energy with loud hues and figures that bound across broad expanses of white surrounded by emphatic bursts of multicolored text. He brings this variant on a trickster tale (most recently retold in Nathan Kumar Scott’s The Great Race, illustrated by Jagdish Chitara, 2012) to an unexpected close: Rather than glory in crushing Cheetah’s self-esteem, the cats give him their first-place medals and assure him that yes, indeed, he won that race too.

A high-volume victory for compassion. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-173083-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more