A gentle, feel-good feline fantasy.

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CAT WISHES

A skeptical cat who disavows wishes finds himself pleasantly surprised.

Hungry and alone in a “windy wood,” Cat wishes for something to eat. When he catches a snake, the snake makes a bargain. If Cat spares his life, the snake will grant Cat’s wish. Cat replies, “No such thing as a wish,” but he releases the snake anyway. Wiggling away, the snake promises Cat three wishes. Still hungry and unconvinced, Cat wishes for a Fish—and his wish is granted. As it starts to rain, Cat’s wet and still unconvinced, but he wishes for a house. Soon Cat’s curled up before the fireplace in “his very own house.” Waking up alone in the dark house, Cat still pooh-poohs wishing, but nevertheless, he wishes for a friend—with unexpected results. The spare text relies on clever placement of onomatopoeic words such as “rustle,” “pad,” “splash,” “burp,” “plop,” “sniff,” and “shuff,” to effectively convey Cat’s sensory world. Soft-edged illustrations in pale watercolor washes and digital media visually portray Cat’s environment, emphasizing his solitary condition as he stalks, crouches, coils, pounces, pads, and runs on “whisper feet” across the atmospheric double-page spreads. His expressive face and body tell their own story.

A gentle, feel-good feline fantasy. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-61055-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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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