As funny and as exquisitely put together as Edmond Bigsnout himself.

WHEN A WOLF IS HUNGRY

Lone wolf Edmond Bigsnout sets off from his country home to kill and eat a “city bunny”—and becomes enmeshed in a life-altering adventure.

From the start, the text and the masterful, mixed-media artwork are both funny and suspenseful. The elegantly dressed wolf strides across the autumn-tree–studded initial pages, sharp knife in carefully manicured paw, as he heads for his urban craving: “a grain-fed, silky-haired rabbit, one with just a hint of sweetness.” The wolf rides his bike to the city, soon finding an apartment building with a promising tenant for his culinary desires: “Max Omatose, miniature rabbit, 5th floor.” In his haste to reach said floor, Edmond leaves his knife in the elevator, where it is soon appropriated by a third-floor turkey. Edmond pedals back to the country, this time grabbing his chain saw. Each time he arrives with a different sinister tool, some other resident, thinking Edmond is a new tenant, gratefully borrows the tool. (Edmond may be bloodthirsty, but he is unfailingly polite.) By the time he has lugged a barbecue to the apartment house, the hungry lone wolf is greeted by the most come-hither–looking lupine lady in picture-book history: Miss Eyestopper. Edmond is still determined to eat that rabbit, but fate steps in and ensures a happy ending for everyone.

As funny and as exquisitely put together as Edmond Bigsnout himself. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5482-7

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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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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Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed.

YOU DON'T WANT A DRAGON!

If you thought having a unicorn as a pet was hard, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve tried owning a dragon.

The young protagonist of You Don’t Want a Unicorn! (2017) is back, and they clearly haven’t learned their lesson. Now they’ve wished for a pet dragon. As the intrusive narrator is quick to point out, everything about it seems fun at the beginning. However, it’s not long before the doglike dragon starts chasing squirrels, drooling, pooping (ever wondered where charcoal comes from?), scooting its butt across the floor (leaving fire and flames behind), and more. By now, the dragon has grown too huge to keep, so the child (who appears white and also to live alone) wishes it away and settles for a cute little hamster instead. A perfect pet…until it finds a stray magical cupcake. Simple cartoon art and a surfeit of jokes about defecation suggest this book will find an appreciative audience. The dragon/dog equivalences are cute on an initial read, but they may not be strong enough to convince anyone to return. Moreover, a surprising amount of the plot hinges on having read the previous book in this series (it’s the only way readers will know that cupcakes are unicorn poop).

Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53580-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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