A hoot for readers who already know Elephant and Piggie

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HAROLD & HOG PRETEND FOR REAL!

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

This meta–early reader begins (between the end pages and the title page) with the famous duo Elephant and Piggie expressing excitement about reading a book about a pig and an elephant who happen to be best friends, just like them.

Piggie holds a copy of Harold & Hog Pretend for Real!—which is identical to the book readers are holding, leading them to believe that the characters are reading the same book. Piggie and elephant Gerald then open the cover of the book just as elephant Harold and Hog push it open from the inside, and the story seamlessly shifts to the latter pair’s perspective. Harold and Hog—illustrated with depth and fairly realistically, compared to the cartoonlike Piggie and Gerald—are excited to see the famous duo, and Harold suggests they pretend to be them. Harold then produces round, wire-rimmed glasses for himself and a cartoon pig’s snout for Hog so that they can pretend “for real.” Unfortunately, Hog is “too CAREFUL to be Piggie,” and Harold is “too CAREFREE to be Gerald!” The question then arises: Can Harold and Hog’s friendship survive this game? Building on the popular Elephant and Piggie books and with the frame story contributed by Mo Willems, Santat creates yet another early reader that is at once playful, self-aware, and perceptive in its exploration of the differences of personalities and the complications (or simplicities) of friendship.

A hoot for readers who already know Elephant and Piggie . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02716-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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