Kids may want to have jumping contests of their own after reading this—just omit jetpacks.

READ REVIEW

FOX AND THE JUMPING CONTEST

A trickster jumps on a sneaky scheme to best all others in a contest.

Fox isn’t much of a jumper—amusingly illustrated in the frontmatter—but this doesn’t stop him from aiming to win first prize in competition. Instead of practicing rigorously, he dons a self-built jetpack to give him an extra boost. Other contestants gamely try, some faring better than others, and naturally, Rabbit effortlessly jumps highest. Thanks to his device, Fox leaps to extraordinary heights and is soon way out of bounds and out of sight, soaring into space. Unable to wait for Fox’s return, the judges begin the awards ceremony. As Rabbit ascends to first place, who should fall into the trophy cup? Why, Fox, who, astute readers will have noted, has been hurtling back toward Earth all the while and lands just in time to win—or does he? The text is drily witty, and the comical illustrations, rendered in pencils, watercolors, and ink and assembled digitally, are energetic and appealing, Children will enjoy seeing Rabbit and Fox tussle over the trophy and should appreciate the story’s funny outcome, representing a compromise of sorts. Animal competitors represent various species, and, in a nice touch, all (except Fox and Rabbit) demonstrate good self-esteem, fair play, and sportsmanship.

Kids may want to have jumping contests of their own after reading this—just omit jetpacks. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-239874-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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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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