Fans of Kevin Sherry’s I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (2007) or Bob Shea’s Cheetah Can’t Lose (2013) will enjoy this...

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I'M THE SCARIEST THING IN THE JUNGLE!

A tiger cub and a baby crocodile square off for bragging rights.

In language that evokes the backyard more than Bengal, a little crocodile erupts from the river with a “BOO!” to make the title claim. The startled tigerlet responds: “Excuse me? I’m a TIGER. Way scarier than you.” The squabble escalates quickly both in scope (“I can scale the skin off a sambar. You’re just a dinky lil’ mudpuppy”; “You don’t know diddly squat”) and volume. It breaks off suddenly as ominous shadows signal the arrival of something “BIG…and SCARY!” That would be their moms, coming to collect them and who, both youngsters agree with relief, are really the scariest. Said moms have actually been intermittently visible all along, hanging back with indulgent looks in Derrick’s loosely drawn and brushed cartoon scenes. Perspectives vary, including a vertically oriented spread in which the tiger boasts of attacking from trees, and the climax of the argument faces the two off nose to nose in close-up as their tiny avatars pose atop all of the rhinos, elephants and water buffalo they can beat up in their imaginations. Labeled sketches on the endpapers provide a “Field Guide” to various jungle animals that put in cameos.

Fans of Kevin Sherry’s I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (2007) or Bob Shea’s Cheetah Can’t Lose (2013) will enjoy this lively exchange of views. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59702-087-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Immedium

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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