WE GATHER TOGETHER... NOW PLEASE GET LOST!

DeGroat brings back Gilbert, the young hedgehog/porcupine, in a story that resounds with getting one’s just deserts. Gilbert is so torqued about going on a field trip to Pilgrim Town that he tosses and turns all night. But then he ends up with Philip, the class tattletale, as his partner for the day. Philip is annoying—he has threatened to tell on Gilbert for a minor infraction before they are even off the bus—and Gilbert cuts him absolutely no slack. Particularly when they get the Pilgrim Town, where he does nothing but hide from Philip. Then Gilbert inadvertently gets locked in the bathroom and scary visions of being trapped all night dance through his mind. But Philip saves the day and Gilbert gets sprung. Gilbert decides that Philip just might be an okay buddy, given half a chance. DeGroat’s illustrations—handsome watercolors on two-page spreads—serve as ideal scene-setters for this thoughtful reminder that you never know who your friends are, or will be, and so everybody deserves a break—especially the class sad sack. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-58717-095-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: SeaStar/North-South

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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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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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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