WHO WANTS A TORTOISE?

A nameless, pigtailed, sassy child in a pink gossamer skirt wants only one birthday present: a puppy; in the box, however, is not a puppy but a tortoise. “WHO WANTS A TORTOISE?!” The protagonist sure doesn’t, but Daddy is allergic to dogs. What follows is a list of don’ts: tortoises don’t fetch, don’t roll over, don’t lick your face, don’t beg for baloney, and don’t get excited when you come through the door. An abrupt change in attitude occurs once the young tortoise-owner gives her shelled pet a makeover: “I do his nails with Sparkling Raspberry Delight.” When Grammy and Grandpa bring her a tortoise book as a present, she grows even more receptive: an illustration shows the tortoise atop a pink skateboard, nails still pink, and a leash duct-taped to his shell. She brings her tortoise to sharing day at school; her tortoise races and beats snails by a mile. But then he runs away. Signs go up in the neighborhood, and everyone joins the quest to find the coldblooded friend. Campbell’s familiar style is present in soft watercolor and colored pencil. Young readers will notice details such as emotive expressions on humans and pets alike, as well as plenty of dog paraphernalia. The protagonist appears to be biracial, with a white mom and East Asian dad. The endpapers are a collection of sketches and fun facts. A sweet read-aloud for first-time tortoise owners. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-75417-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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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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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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