Full of fun, love, and laughter; a gem! (Board book. 6 mos.-5)

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PENGUIN ON A SCOOTER

A delightful blend of playful rhymes, silly scenarios, and whimsical artwork.

This funny, lovely board book should become a favorite of kids and caregivers alike; it strikes just the right note of charm and absurdity and never talks down to its audience. Each page offers a rhymed couplet presenting adorable animals in cute and usually preposterous situations: “Nothing is cuter than a penguin on a scooter. / Nothing is sweeter than a tiny chirping tweeter. // Nothing is as lucky as a gold egg-laying ducky. / Nothing is as nice as thank-you notes from mice”; and so on. The smooth meter and flow of the verse shouldn’t surprise; in another life, author Babypants fronted the frequently silly alternative rock band the Presidents of the United States of America. He now makes children’s music; the titular song will be available as a free download from his website. Illustrator Endle’s bright, bold blend of drawing and collage brings each ridiculous couplet perfectly to life in a parade that includes a “disco-dancing filly,” “elegant” chimpanzees, a “dapper, dressy pheasant,” and more. The book is rich in vocabulary, loaded with visual appeal, and peopled with animals brimming over with zest and personality. One near rhyme and a couple of lines with almost-too-many syllables pleasingly challenge children’s sense of the poetic.

Full of fun, love, and laughter; a gem! (Board book. 6 mos.-5)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63217-130-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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