Gentle humor successfully communicates the importance of teamwork to young readers.



Fox and friends have plans to build a treehouse, but bossy Moose keeps interfering

Cooperation is the keyword for Fox and her hardworking co-builders. Unfortunately, Moose thinks he is the most knowledgeable, and he is certainly the bossiest. With a megaphone, he shouts out orders but does not lend a hand. He criticizes, exhorts, advises, and then collapses from the sheer exhaustion of being in charge. Neither Skunk nor Porcupine nor Toad nor Fox measure up to his standards of Moose excellence. Then the walls are completed, and the roof is put in place—but where is Moose? Sharp-eyed readers will see what has happened: Moose is inside the newly completed treehouse and too big to exit through the door. The friends cleverly come to his rescue, and Moose happily learns his lesson. Schwartz and Gomez have crafted a pleasant tale in rhyming couplets about working together, pitching in, and planning ahead. The digitally rendered illustrations are colorful and full of activity as animals clad in work clothes tote tool boxes, measure, lift beams, nail, caulk, drill, and construct. The almost perfectly round Toad alone, clad in pink overalls and safety goggles, with a tiny yellow hard hat perched atop, is practically worth the price of admission.

Gentle humor successfully communicates the importance of teamwork to young readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0496-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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

Did you like this book?

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


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet