With amusing, delightful rhymes and entertaining illustrations, this morning story should be a hit.



A young girl encounters assorted wild animals in the house in this rhyming picture-book adventure.

Brown-skinned, poofy-haired Miranda wakes up in a menagerie, discovering an armadillo, capybara, and more invading her bedroom. A speedy mongoose wearing Miranda’s sneakers streaks across the room while a hippo tries on the child’s new scouting vest and a sloth reads in the underwear drawer. The creatures don’t stop with the bedroom: There are lemurs performing a synchronized swim in the pool, chinchillas cavorting in the sink, and a platypus lounging in the tub. When Miranda’s mother calls, the child wakes to discover only the family dog and her own stuffed animals in the room. But that doesn’t keep her from protesting morning tasks: Mom “adds, ‘brush your teeth. Don’t forget.’ / ‘Okay Mom, but chinchillas are gonna get wet!’ ” In this imaginative tale, Stevenson’s silly rhymes scan beautifully, and unfamiliar animals and words will be easy for independent readers to guess and sound out from the context. Lap readers are likely to linger over Spicer’s hilarious animal illustrations. Miranda’s range of expressions and reactions makes for an appealing protagonist; the gray-haired mother shows a wider parent-child age differential than is common; and the Disney-worthy animal images are sure to grab and hold young readers’ attentions.

With amusing, delightful rhymes and entertaining illustrations, this morning story should be a hit.

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73254-105-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pigs Fly Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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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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