Nothing fishy here: it’s a delish addition to storytime collections.

SWALLOW THE LEADER

Rhyming sea creatures count to 10 and back again.

“1 Fish // 2 Fish / Follow the leader. / Do as I do. / Splash when I’m splashing, / then I’ll follow you.” A fish parade starts with one and picks up one more, with each iteration performing a different action, often mimicry. They snap like crabs. They blow like a whale. They flap like a ray and puff like a blowfish. “7 Fish / Follow the leader / into the dark. / Hush when I’m quiet. / Hide from a shark.” They trot like a sea horse and hurdle a turtle…then, at 10 fish, the front fish gets hungry and swallows a shrimp. The second-place fish swallows the leader! Nine fish become eight become seven and so on. The final fish is a shark: “1 Fish / ‘Delish!’ ” However, after one massive burp, there are 10 fish again! Time for another game with a new leader. Smith’s undersea romp is an enjoyable rhyme that, while introducing different denizens of the briny deep, could easily be adapted to a finger play or body rhyme at storytime. Sherry’s collages place cutouts on watery, watercolor backgrounds; the main-character fish have googly eyes and goofy smiles, and they are boldly colored and outlined in black. Some final art not seen.

Nothing fishy here: it’s a delish addition to storytime collections. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-10518-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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