This band of merry swashclucklers shows that a sense of curiosity and willingness to learn can give you the tools you need...

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PIRATE CHICKEN

ALL HENS ON DECK

Big dreams and an even bigger ship turn a sweet intellectual chicken into the dread pirate Redfoot.

On the farm, Lily is the hen that looks to the stars and wants more than a mere barnyard can provide. So when a rowdy band of buccaneers shows up to steal the poultry, she gleefully jumps onboard. With little effort the chickens commandeer the ship one night while the pirates are all ashore, and Lily takes on the name of Redfoot and the demeanor of a tyrant. Now mutiny is in the air, and if Lily’s going to remain more than shark bait, she’ll need to remember what’s important in life and why she should value her crew. The book is chipper from fore to aft—the gleeful amorality of chickens aiming to plunder and steal is amusing and in keeping with the tone of the book. However, the cartoonish art with bright, peppy images means that, even at their most ferocious, the chickens never really look more than mildly peeved. Though there is little about this chicken/pirate hybrid to distinguish it from others in the overstuffed piratical picture-book flock, it remains an engaging enough romp.

This band of merry swashclucklers shows that a sense of curiosity and willingness to learn can give you the tools you need to conquer any situation. Even mutiny. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6520-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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