Considering the real-world 24-hour news cycle, these ursine antics amid the stars make for oddly comforting reading.

READ REVIEW

ALIEN ALERT

From the Breaking News series

In space, no one can hear you party.

Punctuating his story with special news reports complete with crawl feeds, Biedrzycki returns to the form that served him so well in Bear Alert (2014) and Bears to the Rescue (2016). Here, our three bear heroes find themselves unexpectedly sucked into a UFO along with a strange assortment of wildlife as well as farm and zoo animals. The action then cuts between the experiences of the startled creatures and the frenzied Channel 3 News reports for the people back on Earth. When at last the aliens land and discharge their guests, it becomes clear that these space denizens are more akin to Close Encounters of the Third Kind folks than Independence Day meanies: All the disembarking creatures sport goody bags from a birthday party that was truly out of this world (as memorialized on the rear endpapers). Rather surprisingly, the TV-news format feels fresh as ever, and Biedrzycki knows how to use its storytelling tropes to the book’s best advantage. His Adobe Photoshop illustrations keep the action hopping and include such contemporary touches as smartphones and chyrons even as old-fashioned test patterns and a predigital TV (with cable box atop) make an occasional appearance.

Considering the real-world 24-hour news cycle, these ursine antics amid the stars make for oddly comforting reading. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-804-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more