Utterly, endearingly ridiculous.

MRS. NOODLEKUGEL AND DROOLY THE BEAR

From the Mrs. Noodlekugel series , Vol. 3

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. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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Hee haw.

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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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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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