With well-chosen, clearly conveyed facts and handsome compositions that invite study, this team delivers another fine...

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THE DEADLIEST CREATURE IN THE WORLD

Fourteen creatures lay claim to the title posed in Guiberson’s central question: “Who is the deadliest creature in the world?”

As in previous collaborations with illustrator Spirin (The Greatest Dinosaur Ever, 2013, etc.), each animal here delivers four or five short, boastful sentences as proof. The golden poison dart frog avows, “I zap ants and beetles and store poison in my skin….I am tiny but have enough toxin to kill ten men….That’s why I am the deadliest creature in the world!” Reptiles are well-represented by three snakes and the Komodo dragon. The sole mammal is the short-tailed shrew, whose poison immobilizes its prey, permitting underground caching for later noshing. Spirin’s mixed-media, double-page paintings depict most animals—scales, teeth, and talons delineated with Renaissance precision—in their likely habitats, sometimes entwined with freshly killed prey. However, taking cues from Guiberson’s text for the Brazilian wandering spider (“I like to travel and can show up anywhere. Have you checked your shoes, boxes, cars, and bananas?”), the artist presents a mischievously disquieting still life of a car’s seat with fruit basket, kid’s sneaker—and spiders.

With well-chosen, clearly conveyed facts and handsome compositions that invite study, this team delivers another fine effort, equally well-suited to family browsing and classroom use. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-198-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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