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MRS. NOODLEKUGEL AND DROOLY THE BEAR

From the Mrs. Noodlekugel series , Vol. 3

Utterly, endearingly ridiculous.

Is there a Mr. Noodlekugel? Apparently the answer is yes.

Capt. Noodlekugel is described as "a little man with wonderful whiskers." He's just come back from the sea to visit his wife, and his whiskers are pretty spectacular. They're an endless series of white waves, and they stretch several inches past the end of his face in the illustrations, as though Stower couldn't stop drawing. They look as if they might float off into the sky, like an altostratus cloud. Along with the whiskers, Pinkwater has given the artist all sorts of wonderful things to draw: cake with delicious mushrooms on top and the titular Drooly, a long-snouted bear that the captain is teaching to dance. There's not much plot: the bear is lost and found again. Though nothing really happens in the book, it is hilarious. Even when the characters are just eating dinner, they eat it backward, starting with vegetable cake for dessert and ending with chocolate soup. In its relative eventlessness, the book is a lot like life, but with more bears, as well as mice in nightshirts. The appeal is the loopy conversations about sardines—and the pictures. The artist has surpassed his work in the earlier books, with tightly detailed drawings of things that could never exist and glorious, textured gray ink washes everywhere. Also, the mice wear tiny glasses.

Utterly, endearingly ridiculous. (Fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6645-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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ACOUSTIC ROOSTER AND HIS BARNYARD BAND

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...

Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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