An unusual, tongue-in-cheek aid to getting children to eat a disliked food—even the dreaded carrot

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ESCARGOT

A charming little French snail takes center stage as it entices a child to share a meal.

It’s hard to imagine an escargot heading toward a salad as destined to be anything other than part of the dish, but this engaging snail upends convention. Escargot peeks around the edge of the front endpapers and invites readers to share the experience of “traveling to the salad at the end of this book.” Close-ups of the big-eyed protagonist dressed in a jaunty blue-and-white striped shirt, red neckerchief, and black beret dominate the book. The last pages reveal the light-skinned child from whose visual perspective the story unfolds. Soft-edged, cartoonish illustrations in watercolor humorously emphasize Escargot’s confident worldview. The first-person text encourages reading aloud with a French accent: “Oh la la!...Escargot is magnifique! You can kiss me if you want.” Desperate to be readers’ favorite animal (he doesn’t seem to be for anybody else), Escargot even manages to explain away the slime as “shimmery trails of…shimmery stuff.” As Escargot slides past quiche and brie, the race is on to see who can reach the salad—and that carrot—first.

An unusual, tongue-in-cheek aid to getting children to eat a disliked food—even the dreaded carrot . (Picture Book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30281-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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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