Given the appealing subject matter, tightly focused visual storytelling and feel-good resolution, Slipper’s adventures will...

LOST CAT

Attractive illustrations, gentle humor and a large but satisfying coincidence propel this first effort toward a happy ending.

The plot is simple. A beloved cat, left behind in the bustle of moving, first tries to catch up then considers a variety of options before finding the perfect new home. Mader matter-of-factly describes Slipper the cat’s wanderings and adds a touch of humor to the potentially poignant tale by assigning names to human characters based on their footwear. Shown from Slipper’s vantage point, the pictures likewise focus on feet, from the cat’s original owner, Mrs. Fluffy Slippers, through strangers that include the friendly Ms. Muddy Boots, intimidating High Tops and noisy Mr. Big Boots to the warmly welcoming Miss Shiny Shoes. Mader’s realistic drawings, created with pastels, are particularly effective when a single image dominates the page (Mr. Big Boots’ shiny red motorcycle on one spread, Slipper herself on another). While occasionally somewhat static, they add charm to the straightforward story and effectively portray both setting and characters. In at least one instance—a double-page spread that shows Slipper’s silhouette, small and far off, engulfed by the dark forest around her—the pictures also add an emotional resonance that is mostly missing from the brisk text.

Given the appealing subject matter, tightly focused visual storytelling and feel-good resolution, Slipper’s adventures will likely find an enthusiastic audience, particularly among feline fanciers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-97458-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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Hee haw.

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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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