In the words of Motor Mouse himself, “QUITE ACCEPTABLE”—actually, more than quite.

READ REVIEW

MOTOR MOUSE

Pie, cake, ice cream, popcorn, and bowling only hint at the pleasures to be found in three effervescent little stories.

Motor Mouse is a hardworking rodent, and when it comes to his downtime, he certainly knows how to relax. In “The Friday Cake Day” a catastrophic inaccessibility of delights (read: a closed cake shop) leads to new vistas as the titular hero and his friend Telly (an otter) discover the wide and wonderful world of pie. In “Going for a Look-About,” Motor Mouse cedes driving control to a raccoon cabbie so that he can take his eyes off the road for once. Finally, in “Front Row at the Picture Show,” a long-standing grudge involving a popcorn-hogging brother comes to a head with satisfactory results. Rylant’s grasp of succinct storytelling is on full display. Wry understatement (the pie is deemed by Motor Mouse and Telly to be “QUITE ACCEPTABLE,” while an arrangement whereby two brothers share a single bucket of popcorn “had not worked for years. And it was not working this Saturday, either”) creates memorable characters with minimal syllables. Howard’s art too, honed on the author’s 27 Mr. Putter & Tabby books, deftly balances heart, humor, and the occasional magnificent burst of pathos.

In the words of Motor Mouse himself, “QUITE ACCEPTABLE”—actually, more than quite. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9126-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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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