Don’t expect the newest readers to sit still for this one. They’ll want to jump right into reading.

JUMP

From the I Like To Read series

One powerful verb, simply repeated, makes for an action-packed beginning reader.

The same winsome lad readers met in Bad Dog (2014) returns in another, even easier reader. The verb phrase “can jump” appears on every spread, while the subject—who is doing the jumping—changes. The repetitive text in a clear san serif type is always set on the left-hand side of each double-page spread, ensuring that new readers know exactly where to focus. McPhail’s pen-and-ink drawings tinted with watercolor against white backgrounds provide context clues. The blond, pale-skinned boy is quickly joined by a slightly darker-skinned girl with dark brown hair in an Afro. Familiar animals that jump are introduced first: a bug, a frog, a rabbit. The choice of animals grows increasingly fanciful: a kangaroo (with the two children riding in its pouch), a cow (jumping over the moon, of course), and a hippo. The next-to-last spread reprises all the jumpers and offers the straightforward text “We can jump.” The final spread, “You can jump,” shows the two children and the sneaker-clad feet of a third child jumping off the top corner of the page. The same pastoral and wordless farm scene opens and closes the book.

Don’t expect the newest readers to sit still for this one. They’ll want to jump right into reading. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3889-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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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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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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