Like Poochie-Blue, visitors to the valley will be in no hurry to leave.

READ REVIEW

MY VALLEY

A mix of comical vignettes and broad vistas illustrates an account of the lives and misadventures of a clan of tiny Twims.

It must have been a challenge to translate: the oversized album, originally published in French in 1998, is narrated by Poochie-Blue—who introduces Sowhatty, Nothin’-Doin’, and many like-named members of a teeming extended family as the book opens. He then takes readers on a tour of his hollow cliffside House Tree, the Forest of Lost Children, the Theater of Hissy Fits (where grievances can be acted out), and the cemetery gardens especially tailored for lovers of music or mountains, for haters, readers, or Twims just “waiting for the Goochnies to return.” In between, he tells of the mushroomlike Goochnies’ mysterious disappearance, of children who fell from the sky (actually from a passing windblown apartment house), of a Sad Giant’s visit, and of weather and seasons in the idyllic seaside valley. Along with a labeled area map and a cutaway of the House Tree, Ponti alternates panels of Twims, who look like anthropomorphic lemmings (uniform in color but a little varied in features and dress), in action with immersive, full-page or larger land- and seascapes that seem to go on forever while offering multitudinous crags, glades and foreground features to investigate.

Like Poochie-Blue, visitors to the valley will be in no hurry to leave. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-914671-62-6

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Elsewhere Editions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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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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