An enjoyably absurd friendship tale sure to cause giggles.

WHO'S FIRST?

CHICKEN AND EGG BOOK 1

From the Chicken and Egg series , Vol. 1

Two overly polite pals can’t decide who should go first in this picture book.

On a scorchingly hot day, Chicken and Egg both agree that a banana split would be a perfect way to cool down. But when they get to the ice cream shop, they can’t even get through the door because each friend insists “After you.” To decide who should cross the threshold first, they try playing rock paper scissors, flipping a coin, and running a race. For various reasons, no method breaks the deadlock; by the time they finally agree on drawing straws, the shop is closed. Maybe a grilled cheese sandwich—if they can agree who gets to decide where to go. In this series opener, Stevenson creates a humorously ludicrous dilemma that children, who are so often on the receiving end of etiquette instructions, can especially appreciate. The plot offers the repetition kids like, as seen in the refrain “This went on for a ridiculously long time”—perfect for reading aloud expressively. The nicely varied and dynamic digital images by debut illustrator Stedmond contribute to the fun, including the image capturing the pals’ comically grim determination to win the race.

An enjoyably absurd friendship tale sure to cause giggles.

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73254-103-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frog Prince Books

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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