Cheerful and modestly informative, this will be most appreciated where these crabs are familiar.

READ REVIEW

DOES A FIDDLER CRAB FIDDLE?

Silly questions and straightforward answers make up this visual and verbal introduction to the fiddler crab.

A spoonful of sugar makes facts sticky. Here, alternating pages ask a question in the form of a joke and answer it with a factual statement about fiddler crabs, common residents of the sand and mudflats, especially along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The authors cover important characteristics: their unequally sized claws, their habitat, their digging, breathing, eating, and senses, curious locomotion and regenerative abilities, and other protective adaptations. The humor is irresistible, and Sandford makes good use of it in his paintings. The opening, titular question is illustrated with a top-hatted crab playing a violin. Later, readers see crabs with hard hats building in sand, crabs with chef’s hats making pizza, crabs with sunglasses, skateboards, knitting needles, hockey sticks, and more. The pacing is good; the questions and answers often involve a page turn, but some scenes get (and deserve) double-page spreads. This simple overview does not point out that it is only the male who has "one enormous claw." In the text, he "breathes air," but the backmatter states that these crabs "breathe through gills, which they must keep moist." In fact, they do both.

Cheerful and modestly informative, this will be most appreciated where these crabs are familiar. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943978-03-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Persnickety Press

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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