A fun, free-wheeling romp.

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FOX AND THE BIKE RIDE

Passengers on a bicycle-built-for-many get more than they bargained for.

Today’s the Annual Tour de Tip-Top (read: bike ride), and the animals can’t wait. Fox? Not so much; yawn. To him, the same route, slow pace, and scenery that riders enjoy every year are too humdrum, though snacks are involved. This time he wants danger and thrills besides. While his friends tend to assigned chores, Fox, in charge of bikes, assembles a cleverly souped-up vehicle with multiple seats—but forgets the brakes. Oops. (Good thing they’re wearing helmets.) This glitch causes Fox and his cohorts to careen crazily up, down, and all around, the mad scramble compounded by airplane wings and a rudder that emerge on the bike at the push of Fox’s button. Afterward, the incredulous animals marvel at their adventure and settle in for snack time, except for Fox. But did he really forget those brakes? Readers noticing Fox’s knowing wink as he looks straight out at them will believe otherwise. As he did in his debut about this crafty trickster (Fox and the Jumping Contest, 2016), Tabor creates riotously lively, digitally assembled scenes with pencils, watercolor, and ink to accompany a satisfying, comical tale in which Fox’s wild scheme turns out well—sort of: in the final illustration, as the other riders doze, contented and sated, Fox is shown searching for something new.

A fun, free-wheeling romp. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-239875-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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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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