Wryly magical.

READ REVIEW

SNOW PONY AND THE SEVEN MINIATURE PONIES

An equine retelling of a classic fairy tale, with many, many twists.

Snow Pony is a stunning mare with a snow-white coat and a black, braided mane (hair braiding is one of her specialties—those are some clever hooves). She loves to put on shows with her favorite friend, Charmaine (a medium-tan gal with long black hair, also perfect for braiding). Children come for miles around to see the shows. Queenie, a dappled mare, is jealous of all the attention lavished on Snow Pony. She decides to trick her, leaving a trail of (nonpoisonous) apples leading out the gate, into the dark, scary forest. Snow Pony eats the apples and finds herself lost. But then she comes across a stable with seven tiny stalls. Interestingly, the story here takes a “Goldilocks” turn: Seven shaggy miniature ponies return to find someone has nibbled their hay, eaten 77 sugar cubes, and is asleep in their stall. The ponies introduce themselves (adults will get a chuckle out of the bespectacled tax-attorney pony). Snow Pony joins them for a while but misses Charmaine. They figure out a way back to the farm, and mean ol’ Queenie gets her comeuppance (a large glue bottle is a shocking clue until a page turn reveals the true ending). Sima’s ornate text-box frames and bountiful sparkles that follow Snow Pony add to the fairy-tale mystique.

Wryly magical. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6268-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 11, 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 lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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