A nifty, expectation-defying read-aloud.

BEAR AND SQUIRREL ARE FRIENDS...YES, REALLY!

They might look very different, but Bear and Squirrel are friends.

They both like to gather blueberries and acorns for supper. Bear helps Squirrel build his home in a tree. Squirrel helps Bear keep his den clean (fluffy tails make great dusters). And both of them enjoy playing games. Squirrel’s squirrel friends ask Squirrel if he is worried Bear might eat him for a snack. “Don’t be silly!” Squirrel scoffs. Bear’s friends suggest that Bear might find Squirrel a tasty snack. “That’s ridiculous!” Then Bear settles in for a long winter nap, and his friend settles in to wait, knitting a prodigious scarf as he does so. When Bear finally wakes up, they’re glad to see each other…but they seem different. Bear looks very toothy, and Squirrel—well, Squirrel looks delicious. To the starved Bear, Squirrel actually looks rather a lot like a cupcake. Bear just can’t help himself. There’s much chomping and chewing, and Bear apologizes…for eating all the pancakes. Whew. Graphic designer Pilutti presents an unconventional friendship tale in a mix of full-bleed and spot illustrations with a smattering of dialogue bubbles that fit seamlessly into the story. The muted palette and flat, cartoon style work well with the silly, affirmative tale.

A nifty, expectation-defying read-aloud. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2913-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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