Bubbling over with a singular charm of its own, this book will have kids going ape over the monkeyshines here.

MONKEY WALK

In this sparsely worded tale, an older sibling of messy twins turns out to be uniquely gifted at meeting the needs of a particularly prankish ape during a family trip to the zoo.

As their mother blithely attends to her phone rather than her offspring, it’s up to the protagonist to pick up the detritus of those pesky little sibs. Perhaps recognizing her eldest’s frustration, their mother encourages the beleaguered kid to climb up a rope trellis to something called the “Monkey Walk.” The protagonist complies only to find both hat and personal gaming device snatched by quick orange fingers, which is all readers see of the troublemaker till the end. Trades are suggested via signs held by various animals including (to the protagonist’s understandable, “Oh, you have got to be kidding” reaction) penguins for the device. The denouement reveals the thief to be a multitalented orangutan (not the titular “monkey,” but that’s neither here nor there). With a keen eye to the importance of detail, Madden immediately and easily sets the tone, the feel, and the characters. Refreshingly, the book avoids the proselytizing tone so many picture books succumb to when addressing the hand-held electronic world. Instead, this light and airy storytelling opts to show rather than tell. The protagonist’s family all present white, but other zoo visitors are diverse.

Bubbling over with a singular charm of its own, this book will have kids going ape over the monkeyshines here. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-88898-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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