While not the funniest addition to the series or to the genre, this latest outing should please fans of Ballet Cat.

READ REVIEW

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FAVORITE?

From the Ballet Cat series

The feline dancer returns for a new adventure, in which cousins vie for the affection of their grandmother.

Ballet Cat is busily and happily preparing a show for Grandma featuring her dramatic moves. Cousin Goat then shows up carrying a box labeled “The Great Goatini” and puts a damper on Ballet Cat’s proceedings by readying a magic show. “Magic is Grandma’s favorite.” Goat demonstrates two (very obvious) tricks for Ballet Cat, who, in turn, shows off her repertoire. Grandma (a white, bespectacled dog with black ears) arrives and is tucked into a chair and served “those dry cookies old people like.” Tricks and dance steps follow, but the audience is sound asleep. Awakened, she attests that both shows were the best, but her “FAVORITE favorite” is a choice that many young readers will find both tastefully agreeable and tasty. Shea once again places the short, snappy, and repetitive dialogue in color-coded and shaped speech bubbles (blue oblongs for Goat, and pink ovals for Ballet Cat). His characters are digitized shapes outlined in swirls of black and set on backgrounds of bright, solid colors. Ballet Cat’s ballet steps are limited—but not her enthusiasm. Goat is a lively and ultimately likable character.

While not the funniest addition to the series or to the genre, this latest outing should please fans of Ballet Cat. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-7809-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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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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

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