A winsome reminder that when opposites attract, true friendship can flourish.


From the Croc and Ally series

Two different but good friends—an alligator and a crocodile—talk about their preferences.

Cheerful Ally, a gator, questions all the choices that Croc, the grumpy crocodile, makes. Drawing with crayons, Ally insists that blue, circles, and seven are “the best” color, shape, and number, respectively. When Croc calmly states a preference for red, squares, and the number nine, Ally is irritated but still appreciates their friend. “It is a good thing I like you so much….You are one weird crocodile.” In another story, Croc patiently tries to offer Ally alternatives to pancakes. All prove to be tasty and enjoyable, but after lots of cooking and eating, the very full Ally still asserts that pancakes are their favorite. Finally, Ally creates a “Little Croc” sock puppet that agrees with everything Ally says. Croc is not amused until Ally says, “Croc, I am only kidding….You know I like you the best.” Made up of short, repetitive sentences and succinct chapters, this early reader chronicles a funny, simple story along with black-outlined, humorous drawings of a tall alligator and a stout crocodile who walk on two legs. The characters’ affection and respect for each other despite their differences are heartening. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A winsome reminder that when opposites attract, true friendship can flourish. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-38758-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...


Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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