A welcome addition to the early-reader shelf.

READ REVIEW

MONKEY AND ELEPHANT

Odd couples abound in early readers (see Mo Willems’ Gerald and Piggie, Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad, Wong Herbert Yee’s Mouse and Mole, to name a few), but there’s room for Monkey and Elephant, too.

The eponymous characters try “to rest under the afternoon sun,” but it’s too hot, so they go in search of shade. Over the course of a journey initially fraught with bickering, they quickly resolve problems and even end up cheerily singing together. In chapter three, they mistake a distant group of wild cats for a cluster of shade trees, but Elephant handily defends Monkey when they say they want to eat her. “How about…you guys have DUST CAKE for snack today?” he responds, scuffing up the ground. Accompanying digital art shows the striped cats sitting stunned into submission, their eyes looking upward to an off-stage Elephant—though dust clouds are absent, diminishing the drama. There’s a Horton-esque quality about Bernstein’s Elephant throughout, and both he and Monkey exude personality. This achievement in visual characterization is matched by Schaefer’s text, which employs controlled word choices and embeds careful repetition in support of the emerging reader.

A welcome addition to the early-reader shelf. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4840-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more