HIP HOP DOG

A neglected pup raps a bravado-laced memoir that chronicles his life on the street and gradual embrace of hip-hop culture. Raschka produces a text that—yes!—completely comprehends how to handle this larger-than-life-size poetic form in a short children’s text. The trochaic emphases of hip-hop’s signature cadences are not only celebrated, but delivered in bold type. “You just sit and perk your ears up, / Keep your paws still if you’re able. / Get the skinny on this here pup / While I bark this canine fable.” Radunsky, whose dry-brush, gestural shapes and dramatic color sense align with the author’s visual vocabulary, provides both full-bleed pictures and design. The green-eyed narrator, in a backwards baseball cap and bright white pants, dances and postures amid an attentive crew of human and canine consorts. The doggy refrains riff in concatenated barkspeak (“zoof zoof ha ha arf arf arf arf boof boof boof”) in display type that curves around the margins of double spreads in ever larger fonts. Begs to be read aloud, but—wow!—bows to no one. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-123963-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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?

more