Moral: Fame isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, even if it does come with a fanny pack.

COOKIE THE WALKER

A canine parable about the dangers of fame.

Cookie is an ordinary dog, except that she walks on two feet instead of four. When questioned by her dog friend Kevin, she explains that being taller has helped her in many situations—especially reaching the candy dish. In fact, she likes walking on two feet so much that she keeps doing it. She walks on a treadmill, up the stairs, down a meandering country path, everywhere. Then she learns to walk on balls, railings and flaming boards across a pool filled with snapping turtles (the logical next step). Her bipedal walking causes so such excitement that she is asked to join the circus. She even gets her own television show! Kevin is excited for Cookie’s fortune, but he sees that she is exhausted. Cookie’s only chance at survival is to put all four feet on the floor and simply walk away. But can she do it? Monroe’s playful illustrations are filled with sly adult asides and plenty of detail for sharp-eyed young readers. Similar to Monroe’s first animal hero, Monkey with a Tool Belt (2008, etc.), Cookie has an oversized head and spindly legs, which makes her upright walk all the more amusing.

Moral: Fame isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, even if it does come with a fanny pack. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7613-5617-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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